By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The architect behind Pitt's high-flying offense this season is leaving his post.
Our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are citing sources close to the program in reporting that Mark Whipple resigned as offensive coordinator Tuesday morning.
Whipple guided star quarterback Kenny Pickett and the Pitt offense to some impressive heights this year. The 11-2 Panthers finished the season, Whipple's third at Pitt, as the third-highest scoring unit in the country, averaging 43 points per game. Pickett, the senior quarterback, was named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy on Monday evening, and then Tuesday morning, won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
Pitt plays Michigan State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 30, but Whipple is not expected to be with the team, the Post-Gazette reported. No reason was given for Whipple's decision to step down, but local radio host Andrew Fillipponi tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Whipple's decision is "family related."
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The well-traveled Whipple, 64, was the Steelers quarterbacks coach when the team won Super Bowl XL following the 2005 season.
Whipple is currently a nominee for the Frank Broyles Award, given annually to college football's top assistant coach.
"(Whipple) did a tremendous job transitioning us from a heavy run attack to one of the best passing games in the entire country," Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. "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."
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