Jan. 14, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Frank Verducci, a veteran offensive coach with 27 years of coaching experience at the NFL and collegiate levels, has been named offensive line coach at Notre Dame, head coach Charlie Weis announced Wednesday.
Verducci joins the Irish after working eight of the past 10 years in the NFL with Cleveland (2007-08), Buffalo (2004-05), Dallas (2002) and Cincinnati (1999-2001). Prior to moving to professional football, he spent 19 seasons in the college ranks at Iowa (1989-98 and 1985-86), Northwestern (1987-88), Northern Illinois (1984), Maryland (1981-83) and Colorado State (1980).
“Frank provides an excellent background on both the offensive line and run game in general from two perspectives, having coached several years in professional football and at the Division I level – predominantly in the Big Ten,” Irish head coach Charlie Weis said. “His experience will be an asset both to our players and our staff.
“In addition, the name Verducci in New Jersey high school football is legendary as both his father and uncle were coaching icons. This should aide our recruiting efforts in New Jersey and the Northeast.
“On a side note, it didn’t hurt that his wife (Noel) is a Saint Mary’s graduate!”
The past two years Verducci served as an offensive assistant coach with the Cleveland Browns. His job responsibilities included assisting the offensive coordinator in framing the run game, presenting the weekly opponent scouting report to the offense and installing Friday’s game plan to the offensive unit. Verducci assisted the play caller on game day’s with situational offense and was responsible for clock management.
In 2007, the Browns won 10 games behind an offense that was one of the best in the NFL. The 10 victories were the most by the Browns since 1994 and the offense ranked eighth in the NFL, best by Cleveland since 1981. Verducci assisted with an offense that sent four players to the Pro Bowl that year: quarterback Derek Anderson, wide receiver Braylon Edwards, left tackle Joe Thomas and tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.
Thomas became the first Browns rookie offensive lineman ever to be selected to the Pro Bowl. In 2008, Thomas was tabbed for the annual all-star game, becoming the first Browns offensive lineman to be chosen in consecutive seasons in 21 years.
Verducci also assisted an offense in Cleveland that resurrected the career of running back Jamal Lewis. Lewis eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in 2007 and 2008 and became the first Browns running back to accomplish that two-year feat in 27 years.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity and am grateful to Coach Weis,” Verducci said. “Notre Dame is the one college job I pursued and is the only school I considered leaving the NFL for.
“I’m looking forward to this return to college football and developing the talent we have here. The difference between the pro and college levels is the development you are able to see as they transform from young men when they enter to mature men when they graduate. I can’t wait to get started.”
Prior to joining the Browns’ staff, Verducci spent two years with Buffalo as an assistant offensive line and tight ends coach in 2004 before being promoted to offensive line coach in 2005. He worked closely with tackle Jason Peters (2007 Pro Bowler) who started 10 games in 2005 including each of the final nine contests.
In his first two seasons as a pro, running back Willis McGahee gained more than 1,100 rushing yards both years and scored 18 combined touchdowns, with Verducci part of the offensive line coaching staff. In 2004, tight ends Mark Campbell and Tim Euhus combined to catch seven touchdowns.
Verducci joined the Dallas Cowboys as offensive line coach in 2002 after being the tight ends coach of the Cincinnati Bengals from 1999-2001. With the Cowboys, Verducci worked with three Pro Bowl offensive linemen: guard Larry Allen, guard Andre Gurode and left tackle Flozell Adams. Allen only played five games while Gurode started 14 contests in his rookie season and Adams started all 16 games while blocking for Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.
Ten years of working with the offensive line at Iowa preceded Verducci’s NFL coaching career. From 1989-98 he worked for Hayden Fry as the Hawkeye offense averaged 171.5 rushing yards per game during his decade in Iowa City. From 1989-91 Verducci served as the assistant offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator before becoming the offensive line coach in 1992. In 1995 he added run game coordinator to his title. Verducci was ranked one of the top 10 recruiters in the country by Tom Lemming in 1990 and by Allen Wallace at SuperPrep from 1990-92 and in 1995.
Twelve of his offensive lineman at Iowa went on to make NFL rosters and six players were named first-team all-Big Ten performers. In 1992, center Mike Devlin was selected the Big Ten Lineman of the Year and was a first-team All-American.
Verducci was part of the coaching staff that helped guide the Hawkeyes to six bowl games during his decade in Iowa City (one Rose Bowl, one Holiday Bowl, two Alamo Bowls and two Sun Bowls). He also served as a graduate assistant at Iowa from 1985-86 when Iowa attended the Holiday Bowl and Rose Bowl.
Three of the 10 best single-season rushing totals occurred with Verducci as offensive line coach at Iowa, and five of the top eight individual single-game rushing performances happened between 1989-98.
Iowa won the Big Ten Conference title in 1990, and the rushing attack was a major contributor to the Hawkeyes’ success. Iowa averaged 224.9 rushing yards per game that year, the most by an Iowa team since 1968. The Hawks averaged 221.0 rushing yards per game in 1994 and 217.0 rushing yards in 1997. The aforementioned rushing averages are three of the four best in the last 40 seasons of Iowa football.
Sandwiched between his stints at Iowa was a stop in Northwestern where Verducci coached wide receivers from 1987-88. He started his coaching career in 1980 as a graduate assistant at Colorado State before working with Maryland’s tight ends as a part-time coach from 1981-83. The Bobby Ross-coached Terrapins were ACC champions in 1983 and appeared in the Citrus Bowl after concluding the 1982 season with a trip to the Aloha Bowl. In 1984, Verducci was the running backs and strength coach at Northern Illinois for head coach Lee Corso.
A native of Glen Ridge, N.J., Frank James Verducci was born March 17, 1957 in East Orange, N.J., and graduated from Seton Hall Preparatory School. He played fullback and tight end at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy – Kings Point and received his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University in 1980. He and his wife, Noel, have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Cameron.
Verducci replaces John Latina who resigned Wednesday to pursue other opportunities.
THE VERDUCCI FILEYear School/Team Assignment1980 Colorado State Graduate Assistant1981-83 Maryland Tight Ends1984 Northern Illinois Running Backs/Strength & Conditioning Coach1985-86 Iowa Graduate Assistant1987-88 Northwestern Wide Receivers1989-91 Iowa Assistant Offensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator1992-94 Iowa Offensive Line1995-98 Iowa Offensive Line/Running Game Coordinator1999-2000 Cincinnati Bengals Tight Ends2001 Cincinnati Bengals Tight Ends/Assistant Offensive Line2002 Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line2004 Buffalo Bills Assistant Offensive Line/Tight Ends2005 Buffalo Bills Offensive Line2007-08 Cleveland Browns Offensive Assistant Coach2009 Notre Dame Offensive Line