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Former Pitt WR and JMU OC Mike Shanahan Talks New Position, Reconnection with Tino Sunseri



Former Pitt wide receiver Mike Shanahan.

Former Pitt wide receiver and JMU receiver coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Shanahan recently added an additional role with the Dukes as offensive coordinator. On Thursday, Shanahan discussed his increased role, as well as the team’s recent hiring of former Pitt teammate Tino Sunseri, with Pittsburgh Sports Now.

Shanahan’s strategy for adjusting to offensive coordinator is simple, utilize the familiar JMU system.

“Well my plan is to use the resources that are on staff with the other coaches on the offense and our head coach, Coach Cignetti,” Shanahan said. “We have our system here that has been in place really since I have been with him, dating back to our IUP days that has added some tweaks and adjustments and stuff that has evolved the system over time. We have a really good staff, I think it’s a hungry staff, a driven staff, a staff that is very open to new ideas, a staff that is very, first of all, great teachers of fundamentals, technique and scheme with their position groups. So I’m gonna utilize all of my resources that we already have here, and continue to do my part and really just take control of the organization, the day in and day out process, and just use my skills and attributes that I have developed over the past couple years and pick up where we left off and find ways to keep improving.”

Shanahan also discussed the aforementioned hiring of Sunseri as JMU’s quarterbacks coach.

“Tino and I obviously have a long history. The thing about it is, I think I established the connection with him and Coach Cignetti and Coach Cignetti had some prior history with Tino’s dad down at Alabama, but Tino has gone off on his own and learned for a lot of great guys about the quarterback position and offense of football in general. He’s been a real shot in the arm since he’s been here. He’s got right to work. He’s a high energy guy, a guy that is very knowledgeable and I think he’s gonna be another tremendous asset to our staff on the offense and the staff in general. Him and I spent so much time together on the practice field, in the weight room, in the dorms, that whole experience with Tino drew us really close together in our friendship and I think it’s going to be very similar here. We’re already kind of doing everything together and picking up where we left off.”

Sunseri was Shanahan’s quarterback at Pitt from 2009-12, and JMU head coach Curt Cignetti’s brother, Frank, was the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2009 and 2010.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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