'Welcome back': Minnesota officially announces return of OC Kirk Ciarrocca
Minnesota has a new offensive coordinator for 2022, but it is a face the program is very familiar with.
After a number of reports surrounding the vacancy, the Gophers officially announced the return of Kirk Ciarrocca Monday evening. Ciarrocca originally came to the program with PJ Fleck in 2017 and left after the 2019 season for Penn State.
After a year as the OC with the Nittany Lions and another at West Virginia as an offensive analyst, Ciarrocca is back with Fleck at Minnesota:
“We are excited to welcome Kirk back to Minnesota,” said Fleck. “Kirk is one of the best offensive coordinators in the game, but he is also a tremendous person. We have a long professional history of working together, and I look forward to reuniting with him.”
In a weird twist, the Gophers play West Virginia this bowl season where Ciarrocca was at for the 2021 regular season. Due to those special circumstances, Fleck revealed he agreed to not have Ciarrocca coach against his previous team in the bowl game:
“Coach (Neal) Brown and I have known each other for a long time and have a great relationship,” said Fleck. “With Kirk having worked at both schools (Minnesota from 2017-2019 and West Virginia in 2021), we both agreed to not have Kirk coach in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl with his knowledge of both teams personnel. When we made the decision to hire Kirk, we did not yet know our bowl opponent. Coach Brown and I both thought this would be best to avoid any awkwardness for both sets of student-athletes. It’s the right thing to do.”
Welcome back, Coach Ciarrocca!
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) December 7, 2021