Jan. 6, 2008
BERKELEY - The University of California football program has hired two new coaches, head coach Jeff Tedford announced on Sunday. Frank Cignetti, Jr., has been hired as the Golden Bears' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, while Al Simmons will join the program as its defensive backs coach.
Jim Michalczik will continue as the team's offensive line coach and will also be the Bears' assistant offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Kevin Daft, who served as the program's quarterbacks coach for the 2007 season, will move to wide receivers coach, replacing Dan Ferrigno, who has left Cal to pursue other opportunities.
"The restructuring of our offensive staff enables me to focus more on program-wide head coaching duties," Tedford said. "This is not a reflection on the performance of any of the assistant coaches. It has more to do with maximizing my efficiency as a head coach." Graduate assistant Tosh Lupoi has been promoted to defensive line coach, replacing Ken Delgado, who has accepted a position at Louisville.
"Ken is a guy who has been with us since day one and has been a major factor in everything we have accomplished here," Tedford said. "We are going to miss him and wish him the best of luck in the future."
Cignetti, who brings 19 years of coaching experience at both the collegiate and professional levels to the program, joins the Bears after coaching the San Francisco 49ers' quarterbacks for the 2007 campaign.
"Frank brings a wealth of knowledge, energy and experience to our staff," Tedford said. "He has a great reputation as a top offensive mind and play-caller at both the college and NFL levels. We're excited to add his abilities to our offensive staff."
Simmons, a Bay Area product, returns for his second stint on the Golden Bear staff after serving as Cal's cornerbacks coach from 1998-2000. He coached at Arizona State last season.
"We are also excited with the addition of Al Simmons," Tedford said. "Al has great experience at both the college and pro levels and he brings great knowledge of the Pac-10. He is known as a great technician and we've always respected the way his players have performed."
Prior to joining the 49ers, Cignetti worked with the University of North Carolina (offensive coordinator, 2006), Fresno State (offensive coordinator, 2002-05), New Orleans Saints (quarterbacks, 2000-01), Kansas City Chiefs (quality control, 1999), Indiana University of Pennsylvania (offensive coordinator, 1997-98; quarterbacks, 1995-98; secondary, 1993-94; receivers, 1990-92) and the University of Pittsburgh (graduate assistant, 1989).
On the collegiate level, the Pittsburgh product has been part of five bowl game staffs, with victories in four of those, including wins over Georgia Tech (2002, Silicon Valley), UCLA (2003, Silicon Valley) and Virginia (2004, MPC Computers). Cignetti also helped IUP to the Division II national championship game twice and the semifinals four times. He has also served on coaching staffs in the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine games. He was part of a division championship with the Saints in 2000.
During his four years at Fresno State, Cignetti's offenses twice finished among the nation's top 10 in scoring and third-down conversions. In 2004, the Bulldogs averaged 52.8 points per game over the final six games of the season and became just the sixth team in NCAA history to score 50 or more points in four consecutive contests.
An all-conference safety at IUP, Cignetti played for his father, Frank, Sr., who served as the head coach at IUP and West Virginia for 24 seasons. He helped the Indians to the school's first-ever appearance in a national playoff game in 1987.
After his playing career at IUP, Cignetti served as a graduate assistant at Pitt in 1989, helping the Panthers to a 9-3 record and a Sun Bowl victory over Texas A&M. He then joined his father's staff at his alma mater, serving as a positional coach for seven years before being promoted to offensive coordinator for his final two seasons.
Simmons, who replaces R. Todd Littlejohn as Cal's defensive backs coach, brings over 20 years of coaching experience to the Golden Bears' defense. He spent the last two seasons as Arizona State's cornerbacks and co-special teams coach. He had a one-year stop at San Jose State as the cornerbacks coach in 2005 after two seasons on the San Francisco 49ers staff. He has also coached at Oregon State (2001-02), Cal (1998-2000), Idaho State (1997), Montana State (1995-96), San Francisco State (1994) and Cal State Hayward (1986-93). As an undergrad, Simmons was an all-conference safety at Cal State Hayward.
During his first stint at Cal, Simmons was key in the transformation of one-time tailback Deltha O'Neal into an All-America defensive back. O'Neal was the first cornerback selected in the 2000 NFL Draft.
The Golden Bears posted their sixth straight winning season in 2007, capping the year with a come-from-behind 42-36 triumph over Air Force in the Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl. The bowl victory was the fourth for Tedford - no other Cal coach has won more than two. It is the first time in program history that Cal has advanced to five straight bowl games and the first time in over 50 years that the Bears have posted six straight winning seasons.