Penn State named Kirk Ciarrocca its new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Thursday. Ciarrocca had been the offensive coordinator at Minnesota for the past three seasons under P.J. Fleck.
The position at Penn State was open after previous offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne accepted the head-coaching position at Old Dominion.
Ciarrocca, a Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, native, has been a big part of Minnesota's offensive success over the past few years, including a 10-2 season for the Gophers in 2019. He spent four seasons with Fleck at Western Michigan before moving with Fleck to Minnesota in 2017.
Franklin said he wanted an established playcaller and also believes strongly in "hiring people that want to be here, and Kirk really wanted to be here. ... He's fired up about being here."
Minnesota averaged 34.3 points and 426.8 yards per game and scored 55 total touchdowns on the season. Running back Rodney Smith had 1,094 rushing yards, but the performance in the passing game is what stood out most this season for the Gophers.
As the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Ciarrocca helped quarterback Tanner Morgan to a season with 2,975 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Receivers Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson both eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving and tallied 11 touchdowns each on the season.
"We wanted to get a proven playcaller, a guy that's got a history of calling plays, but also somebody that our systems were similar, that there would be some carry-over,'' said Franklin, adding that he expects Penn State's 2020 offense to be a blend of what Penn State has been doing and what Ciarrocca has done, specifically at Minnesota.
Ciarrocca, who has been an offensive coordinator for 18 seasons and has also been on the staffs at Temple, Delaware Valley, Western Connecticut State, Princeton, Penn, Delaware, Rutgers and Richmond, will now lead a Penn State offense that averaged 402.2 yards per game and had 53 offensive touchdowns in 2019.
"I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to work at a program as rich in tradition as Penn State University," Ciarrocca said in a statement. "It is an honor and a privilege to join Coach Franklin's staff and to work alongside such a successful head football coach. Having grown up a Penn State fan, I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as your offensive coordinator. My family and I are overjoyed to be coming home to Happy Valley."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.