NU announces hirings of Whipple, Raiola to coaching staff
Just over a month after letting go of four full-time assistant coaches, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost announced two important additions to his staff on Wednesday morning.
The Huskers have hired Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Mark Whipple and Chicago Bears assistant offensive line coach Donovan Raiola. They join LSU wide assistant head coach/receivers coach Mickey Joseph, who officially joined the staff on Dec. 3.
Whipple will hold the titles of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, while Raiola will take over as offensive line coach.
“We are excited to add Mark Whipple and Donovan Raiola to our offensive coaching staff,” Frost said in a statement. “Mark has four decades of coaching experience and brings a long record of offensive success to Nebraska. Donovan is an outstanding offensive line coach who has a history of winning as both a player and coach.
"I am confident their addition will have a positive impact on the young men in our program and the success of our offense.”
Whipple, 64, had spent the past three seasons at Pitt and is coming off an impressive 2021 campaign that saw the Panthers go 11-2, win their first ACC championship, and earn a berth in the Peach Bowl.
His offense was led by quarterback Kenny Pickett, who was recently named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Pitt ranked third nationally in scoring and sixth in passing this season. Pickett set school records with 4,319 passing yards and an ACC-record 42 touchdowns while breaking Dan Marino's team record for career touchdown passes with 81.
He interviewed with Frost on Sunday and resigned from Pitt on Tuesday.
“The opportunity to coach at a school with the history and tradition of Nebraska is special,” Whipple said. “Coach Frost has a great offensive mind, and I look forward to working together with him and our staff to best position our players for success. I can’t wait to get to Lincoln and represent Husker Football.”
Raiola, 38, was in his fourth season with the Bears. The younger brother of former All-American Husker center Dominic Raiola, Dovonan joined Chicago in 2018 after one season as the offensive line coach at Aurora (Ill.) University and two years as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame.
He was a three-time honorable mention All-Big Ten center at Wisconsin, where he started 39 of 43 games from 2002-05 and was a captain as a senior.
Donovan is also the uncle of top 2024 quarterback Dylan Raiola, who holds a Nebraska offer.
“I am humbled to lead the offensive line at the University of Nebraska,” Raiola said. “I understand the responsibility of coaching the Pipeline and the history of offensive line excellence at Nebraska. We will work tirelessly to add to that tradition.”
The Huskers still have work to do to fill out their coaching staff.
One potential option is to hire a full-time special teams coordinator, where current analyst and former NU special teams coach Bill Busch and Virginia's Ricky Brumfield would reportedly be top candidates.
There is also an opening at running backs coach, where long-time Nebraska assistant Ron Brown has filled in both on the field and the recruiting trail over the past month.