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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Updated: February 19, 10:24 AM ET
Cignetti to call Pitt's plays, develop Stull

By Brian Bennett
ESPN.com

Pittsburgh has hired California offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. to call plays for the Panthers.

Cignetti will be formally introduced at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. He replaces Matt Cavanaugh, who left Dave Wannstedt's staff at Pitt to become the quarterbacks coach for the New York Jets.

A Pittsburgh native, Cignetti just completed his first season on Cal's staff, directing an offense that averaged 32.6 points and 186.2 rushing yards per game.

"Location sparked the initial interest, but then the more I talked with coach Wannstedt, the more time I spent with him, I was sold on him as a head coach and on the direction the football program was going," Cignetti said. "And then there is my belief in the city of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh and the academic and athletic excellence and the pride and tradition of the program."

Before coming to the Golden Bears, Cignetti was the offensive coordinator at North Carolina and Fresno State and quarterbacks coach with the San Francisco 49ers. He is a Pittsburgh native whose father coached at West Virginia.

The 43-year-old Cignetti has a reputation for developing quarterbacks, and that will be one of his main points of emphasis at Pitt, where quarterback Bill Stull and the passing game struggled down the stretch last season. The Panthers may have to rely more on their passing game this season after the loss of star tailback LeSean McCoy.

Brian Bennett is ESPN.com's Big East college football blogger.