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Penn State fires Kirk Ciarrocca, hires Mike Yurcich

Penn State has fired Kirk Ciarrocca as the program's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and hired Mike Yurcich as his replacement, the program announced Friday.

Ciarrocca was in his first season as Penn State's offensive coordinator, hired away after a 3-year run (that included a landmark win over 8-0 Penn State in 2019) at Minnesota. Penn State's yard per play output fell from 6.05 to 5.46, but the Nittany Lions were hit extraordinarily hard by opt-outs. Penn State got off to an 0-5 start but rebounded by winning their final four games.

"First, I would like to thank Kirk for his contributions to our program last year," James Franklin said in a statement. "This was a difficult decision, but felt it was best for our program to make a change. We wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavors.

"We are excited to have Mike join our staff," continued Franklin. "He is an impressive offensive mind and talented play caller who has set records everywhere he has been as an offensive coordinator. I look forward to seeing what he can do with all of the offensive weapons we have here at Penn State. I have followed Mike's career for a long time, dating back to his time in the PSAC at Shippensburg and Edinboro. We look forward to bringing Mike and his family back to Pennsylvania."

Yurcich will be the fifth offensive coordinator in James Franklin's now eight seasons in State College. John Donovan and Joe Moorhead both ran the attack for two seasons, and Ricky Rahne and Ciarrocca for one apiece.

Yurcich arrives from Texas, where he spent one season as offensive coordinator. Prior to that he was the quarterbacks coach at Ohio State, and prior to that he rose to prominence as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.

The move marks a triumphant return to Pennsylvania for Yurcich, who was the offensive coordinator at Division II Shippensburg when Mike Gundy plucked him out of obscurity in 2013.

"I'd like to thank James Franklin, (AD) Sandy Barbour and President Eric Barron for the opportunity to be the offensive coordinator at Penn State University," said Yurcich. "Having spent 11 years in the state of Pennsylvania as a player and coach, I understand the significance of this duty and will represent properly and with humble pride."

In eight seasons at the FBS level, Yurcich's offenses have averaged at least 38 points seven times and topped the 40-point mark three of the last four campaigns. The 42.7 points Texas averaged this fall were the most by any Longhorns offense since the 2005 national title team.

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