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Major Offensive Coordinator Steps Down In Surprising Move

Kenny Pickett throws the ball for the Pitt Panthers. He's now a 2022 NFL Draft prospect.

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 12: Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers throws a pass in the first quarter of the game against the Austin Peay Governors at Heinz Field on September 12, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The offensive coordinator who helped turn a potential undrafted free agent quarterback into a Heisman Trophy candidate stepped down in a surprising move on Tuesday afternoon.

Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Mark Whipple is reportedly stepping down. According to a report from ESPN college football insider Adam Rittenberg, Whipple won't coach in the team's bowl game.

"Source confirms Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple is stepping down and not expected to coach in the Peach Bowl against Michigan State. Whipple did a great job developing Heisman Trophy finalist Kenny Pickett," Rittenberg reported.

It's an interesting decision from Whipple, who helped lead one of the most potent offenses in the nation. Before the 2021 season started, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he wouldn't have come back for another season without Whipple.

“If he was gone or if he wanted to retire or if he wanted to take off and play some golf — he loves to play golf. He's really good, too. Way better than me. I suck. If he left, I was definitely leaving,” Pickett told the Post-Gazette in June. “He's like family now. His opinion, I mean, if he told me to leave, I would've left. He's a guy who's seen it all and done it all.”

With Pickett off the the NFL after this year, neither one will be with the Panthers next year.