Ahead of the bowl matchups being revealed on Sunday, Minnesota made serious progress with WVU senior offensive analyst, Kirk Ciarrocca to become the team's next offensive coordinator.
Once West Virginia and Minnesota found out they were playing each other in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, head coaches Neal Brown and P.J. Fleck worked together to figure out how Ciarrocca could make his transition ahead of the bowl game. On Monday night, Minnesota made the move official that Ciarrocca has been hired as the offensive coordinator. As P.J. Fleck stated in the team release, Ciarrocca will not coach in the bowl game.
"Coach 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."
Ciarrocca was rumored to be hired as the offensive coordinator at West Virginia when Neal Brown took the job in 2019, however, he opted to remain at Minnesota where he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the previous two seasons. Ciarrocca spent the 2020 season with Penn State before finally reuniting with Neal Brown at WVU in 2021.
"Kirk and I's relationship goes back a good ways," said Neal Brown. "He actually recruited me when he was a college coach and then I was a receiver coach for him at the University of Delaware for a year when I was kind of just getting started in my career. He's been a mentor and a friend really throughout my coaching career. Our philosophies are very similar. He's been a great help here not only for myself but for really our entire staff. He's helped our offensive staff grow. He's had great insight for our defensive staff. I think it's been a fun experience for him. I think it's something he's enjoyed."
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