Kirk Ciarrocca, a Pennsylvania native and Temple graduate who was Minnesota’s offensive coordinator for the past three seasons, was named Thursday as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Penn State.
Ciarrocca, who helped the Golden Gophers achieve their first 10-win regular season this season since 1905, replaces Ricky Rahne. Rahne became the new head coach at Old Dominion on Dec. 9. Tight ends coach Tyler Bowen will serve as the Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator for Saturday’s Cotton Bowl game versus Memphis.
In a statement, head coach James Franklin cited Ciarrocca’s 18 years of experience as an offensive coordinator.
“He is a veteran coordinator who also has deep Pennsylvania roots and ties,” Franklin said. “His most recent success as an offensive coordinator caught our eye. What impressed me most about Kirk in the hiring process was his humility and his willingness to make this an easy transition for our players.”
A native of Lewisberry, Pa., near Harrisburg, Ciarrocca played college football at Juniata College before transferring to and graduating from Temple in 1990. He made several coaching stops around the Philadelphia area, including Temple (graduate assistant, 1990-91), Delaware Valley (wide receivers, 1992), and Penn (wide receivers 2000-01).
He took over in 2002 as offensive coordinator at Delaware for six seasons, helping lead the Blue Hens to the 2003 FCS national championship. With Joe Flacco as quarterback in 2007, the team finished in the top 10 in scoring, total offense and passing offense.
Ciarrocca was also an offensive coordinator at Rutgers and Western Michigan before moving to Minnesota in 2017 after being hired by new head coach P.J. Fleck. The 2019 Golden Gophers put up impressive offensive numbers, including a record-setting year for quarterback Tanner Morgan, who passed for 339 yards in their 31-26 win over Penn State on Nov. 9.
Ciarrocca, a semifinalist for the 2019 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach, called it “an honor and a privilege” to come to Penn State and work with Franklin.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work at a program as rich in tradition as Penn State University,” he said. “Having grown up a Penn State fan, I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as offensive coordinator. My family and I are overjoyed to be coming home to Happy Valley.”