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WMU Football announces hiring of offensive and defensive coordinators

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The Broncos march out at Waldo Stadium.  Photo courtesy of wmubroncos.com.
The Broncos march out at Waldo Stadium. Photo courtesy of wmubroncos.com.

Kalamazoo, MI (WKZO) - Western Michigan football officially announced on Monday morning the hiring of Kirk Ciarrocca and Ed Pinkham as the program's new offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively.

Ciarrocca (shuh-ROCK-uh), a graduate of Temple University, brings over 20 years of coaching experience to Western Michigan.  He was instrumental in the development of current Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco during his six previous seasons at the University of Delaware and was a member of the 2003 National Championship staff.  Ciarrocca's Blue Hen 2007 offense ranked in the top 10 nationally in in scoring, total offense, passing offense, third down conversion and red-zone scoring.  

"We are really excited to have Kirk Ciarrocca, whom I worked with at Rutgers, on staff with us," WMU head football coach P.J. Fleck said.  "Kirk has won a national championship at the FCS level with Delaware and has produced numerous big time quarterbacks, including the likes of Joe Flacco, and has an extensive knowledge of the quarterback position.  Kirk has always been a great recruiter, very detailed, a 'get it done' type guy.  He is a phenomenal person and I am happy to welcome him, his wife Kim and their children, Colby and Cade, to the Bronco family."

Ciarrocca's coaching career began at Temple where he assisted the offensive staff and served as the on-campus recruiting coordinator from 1990-91.  After his stint with Temple, he worked with Western Connecticut State as the passing game coordinator in 1992. In 1993, he went to Delaware Valley College as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks/receivers coach.  He returned to Western Connecticut as the offensive coordinator for two seasons before heading to Princeton for seven seasons. 

He first coached the wide receivers at Princeton from 1996-99 and then did the same at the University of Pennsylvania from 2000-02 were the Quakers boasted the top ranked passing offense and claimed the 2000 Ivy League championship.

Ciarrocca worked with PJ Fleck during his time at Rutgers when he was the co-offensive coordinator from 2009-10, while also coaching the quarterbacks.  He most recently served as the QB coach at Richmond in 2011 before returning to Delaware to coach running backs last season.

Ed Pinkham brings 30 years of experience as a defensive coordinator to the Bronco football program.  Prior to coaching Elon's defense over the past two seasons, he served in the same capacity at Rutgers in 2009-10.  In his first season as co-defensive coordinator, Pinkham helped the Scarlet Knights rank in the top-20 in five categories, including leading the nation in tackles for loss and ranking second in turnover margin. Rutgers was 15th in the country in rushing defense, 16th in scoring defense and 18th in total defense.

"Ed Pinkham comes to us from Elon and is someone I also worked with while at Rutgers," said Fleck.  "He is one of the best recruiters I have ever been around.  He has a passion for coaching and teaching young people and is one of the best defensive minds in the country.  Ed has been a defensive coordinator at various levels for a combined 30 years and every one of his defenses have been stingy, fast, attacking styles of defenses.  We are lucky to have his wife Karen and Ed aboard and a part of the Bronco Family."

Pinkham’s return to the FCS level saw his defensive unit rate third nationally against the pass as Elon allowed an average of just 153.55 yards per game through the air.  The unit also rated in the top 40 nationally in total defense.  The Phoenix defense amassed 17 sacks, besting its total from the previous season by four.

Pinkham led the defense at Colgate from 1996 through 2008.  During his tenure at Colgate, the Raiders captured five Patriot League titles and earned five trips to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. The defensive unit led the Patriot League in total defense in 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2006, and three times paced the league in rushing defense.

Pinkham’s defensive unit ranked top-10 in the nation in rushing defense three times, twice in passing defense and once in total defense. The Raiders were fifth in the nation in pass efficiency defense and ninth in total defense in 2004. In 1999, he directed the Raiders to one of their greatest defensive efforts while setting the school record for fewest total yards and rushing yards allowed in a season.

Prior to Colgate, Pinkham was defensive coordinator and associate head coach at the College of the Holy Cross for four seasons. For the first two seasons he coached the outside linebackers, before moving over to the secondary. He also enjoyed a 12-year stint at the University of New Hampshire, where he was secondary coach during his entire stay and defensive coordinator the last seven seasons. In 1989, he joined the staff at the University of Minnesota as secondary coach.

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