Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Mark Whipple Adds a Wealth of Experience to Nebraska Staff

December 08, 2021

Longtime college football and NFL coach Mark Whipple is Nebraska’s next offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

The 64-year-old New York native resigned from his position as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Dec. 7. He had held those titles since 2019, his first season at Pitt.

“During his three seasons at Pitt, Mark Whipple was a great asset for our entire football program,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement. “He did a tremendous job transitioning us from a heavy run attack to one of the best passing games in the entire country. His great work with quarterbacks was obviously on full display, given the outstanding year Kenny Pickett has enjoyed. I am very grateful for Mark’s time in Pittsburgh, both personally as well as professionally, and I wish him and his family the very best moving forward.”

Whipple comes to Nebraska from the Atlantic Coast Conference champ Panthers, where he coached and developed 2021 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Kenny Pickett. Under Whipple’s watch, Pickett, a fifth-year player, broke two records in last week’s ACC championship game against Wake Forest. One was Dan Marino’s school record of 79 career touchdowns passes—Pickett now holds the record with 81. The other was the ACC record for touchdown passes in a season, which Pickett now owns with 42, breaking the old mark of 41.

Whipple will be reunited with Nebraska’s current interim running backs coach Ron Brown in Lincoln. The two played together at Brown University, an Ivy League school, where Whipple was a quarterback and Brown, who would go on to be a longtime Husker assistant, was a defensive back. They were also on the same coaching staff at Brown University in 1983. Brown is currently one of the favorites to land the official running backs coaching role on Scott Frost’s staff.

Under the guidance of Whipple, Pitt’s offense this season ranks third nationally in average points per game (43), fifth in average total yards (502.9) and sixth in passing yards (350.2). The Panthers scored a school-record 559 points this season along the way to an 11-2 record and an appearance in the Peach Bowl against Michigan State, though it was reported that Whipple will not coach in the game.

In 2019, Whipple’s offense helped receiver Maurice Ffrench turn into one of the best pass catchers in the country. Ffrench caught a school-record 96 passes, which beat the record of 92 set in 2003 by Larry Fitzgerald. Ffrench led the nation with 8.7 receptions per game that year.

Whipple has a long coaching history. He’s been a head coach at the University of Massachusetts twice—the first stint was from 1998-2003, the second 2014-18—and went a combined 65-70 with the Minutemen, which made him the winningest coach in UMass history. He’s also been the head coach at his alma mater, Brown (1994-97), where he went 24-16, and Division II program New Haven (1988-92), where he went 48-17.

Before his second stint at UMass, Whipple was the quarterbacks coach with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns from 2011-12. He also served as the associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Miami (FL) from 2009-10 under head coach Randy Shannon.

Whipple spent the 2008 season working an assistant with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and head coach Andy Reid. He then coached quarterbacks for head coach Bill Cowher and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004-06. During his time with the Steelers, Whipple worked with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Whipple will replace Matt Lubick, who held the title of offensive coordinator and receivers coach. Last week, Nebraska announced the hiring of Mickey Joseph from LSU, who will coach receivers and also be the associate head coach and passing game coordinator. Joseph had spent the last five years in Baton Rouge developing and coaching some of the best receiving rooms in the country.

“The opportunity to coach at a school with the history and tradition of Nebraska is special,” Whipple said. “Coach Frost has a great offensive mind, and I look forward to working together with him and our staff to best position our players for success. I can’t wait to get to Lincoln and represent Husker Football.”

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