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5 things to know about new coaches

Posted Feb 16, 2016

Giants.com's Dan Salomone gives you five things to know about each of the new coaches on Ben McAdoo's staff!

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ben McAdoo officially announced his coaching staff which includes several new faces. Giants.com's Dan Salomone gives you five things to know about each new coach.

Frank Cignetti – Quarterbacks Coach

1. After spending three years as the Rams’ quarterbacks coach, Frank Cignetti was promoted to offensive coordinator last season before being relieved of his duties on Dec. 7, 2015. In the NFL ranks, Cignetti has also held posts with the Chiefs, Saints and 49ers.

2. Like Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, Cignetti graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. From 1990-98, Cignetti coached for his College Football Hall of Fame father, Frank Sr., at IUP after beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Pittsburgh in 1989. That was the same year current Packers coach Mike McCarthy cracked the Division I ranks as a volunteer assistant with the Panthers. McAdoo coached under McCarthy for eight seasons in Green Bay before Tom Coughlin hired him as the Giants’ offensive coordinator in 2014.

3. Cignetti, whose resume includes two decades of coaching experience, spent the 2011 season as the offensive coordinator at Rutgers. That season, the Scarlet Knights averaged 26.4 points per game, fourth-most in the Big East, and Rutgers ranked third in the conference in passing offense

4. Prior to Rutgers, Cignetti served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for two seasons at the University of Pittsburgh. In Cignetti’s first season calling the plays, the Panthers averaged 32.1 points per game, one of the top five scoring averages in school history. Pitt’s offensive arsenal included a 1,700-yard rusher in Dion Lewis and 1,000-yard receiver in Jon Baldwin. In total, seven of Pitt’s offensive players were named All-Big East, including Lewis, who was honored as the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

5. Cignetti also served as offensive coordinator at California (2008) and North Carolina (2006). He broke into the NFL ranks as a quality control assistant with the Chiefs in 1999. He then coached quarterbacks from 2000-01 in New Orleans, where McCarthy was the offensive coordinator. Cignetti also coached quarterbacks for the 49ers in 2007.


Mike Solari – Offensive Line Coach


1. Mike Solari just completed his 39th year in the coaching profession and his 27th in the NFL, most recently serving as the assistant offensive line coach in Green Bay. There, Solari worked under head coach Mike McCarty, as did Ben McAdoo for eight years. The 17th head coach of the Giants was an assistant on the Packers’ staff from 2006-13, spending the first six seasons as the team’s tight ends coach and the final two as the quarterbacks coach.

2. In Solari’s 17 seasons serving as an NFL team’s primary offensive line coach, his players combined for 25 Pro Bowl appearances and at least one of his players was selected to the Pro Bowl in 15 of those seasons.

3. Prior to joining Green Bay in 2015, Solari coached San Francisco’s offensive line for five seasons (2010-14). Over that span, he helped the 49ers rank No. 5 in the NFL in rushing (132.1 yards per game), No. 6 in yards per carry (4.47) and No. 3 in 10-yard runs (307). Solari’s line helped San Francisco finish in the top five in the NFL in rushing for three-straight years (2012-14), one of only two teams in the league to accomplish that feat (Seattle was the other). During Solari’s time with the 49ers, the team made three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship Game (2011-13), winning one for an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII. Solari had a previous stint on the 49ers’ staff from 1992-96, serving as the team’s tight ends/assistant offensive line coach.

4. Solari has also coached the offensive line for the Seattle Seahawks (2008-09) and served on the Kansas City Chiefs’ coaching staff from 1997-2007. In Kansas City, Solari was the offensive line coach for his first nine seasons with the club (1997-2005) before taking over as offensive coordinator for the final two years (2006-07).

5. Solari, a native of Daly City, Calif., broke into the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 1987 as assistant offensive line/special teams coach. He began his coaching career in 1977 at Mission Bay (Calif.) High, followed by stints at Mira Costa Junior College (1978) and U.S. International (1979). He helped lead Boise State to the NCAA Division I-AA Championship in 1980 and also coached on the collegiate level at Cincinnati (1981-82), Kansas (1983-85), Pittsburgh (1986) and Alabama (1990-91). As a player, Solari was a two-time letterman as an offensive lineman (1975-76) at San Diego State, where he was a teammate of former NFL head coach Herm Edwards and current Bears head coach John Fox, who served as the Giants’ defensive coordinator from 1997-2001.

Dwayne Stukes - Assistant Special Teams Coach


1. Dwayne Stukes was most recently the assistant special teams coach for the Chicago Bears from 2013-14.

2. Stukes spent the 2012 season with the Dallas Cowboys as a coach in their minority internship program after serving on Tampa Bay’s coaching staff for six seasons (2006-11), the last as the Buccaneers special teams coordinator.

3. During the 2011 season, Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth ranked third in the NFL in field goal percentage with a career-high 92.9 percent (16 of 28). Michael Koenen was seventh in the NFL in touchback percentage (58.7, 37 touchbacks of 63 kickoffs) and eighth in net punting average (40.3). The Buccaneers punt coverage unit was eighth in the NFL, allowing just 7.4 yards per return, and the kickoff coverage unit was ninth, allowing 22.8 yards per return.

4. In 2009 and 2010, Stukes was Tampa Bay’s assistant defensive backs coach after serving as special teams quality control coach in 2008. He joined the team as a coaching assistant in 2006, a position he held for two years. He also served as the assistant defensive backs coach for the Berlin Thunder in 2006.

5. Stukes, a native of Portsmouth, Va., played collegiately at the University of Virginia and was awarded UVA’s Gretchen Savin Macillwaine Football Scholarship, given for outstanding academic achievement. He spent parts of four seasons in the NFL from 2000-03 as a member of the Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers. Stukes also spent time with NFL Europe’s Berlin Thunder (2001-02) and the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush (2004).

Aaron Wellman – Head Strength & Conditioning Coach


1. Aaron Wellman, a 19-year strength and conditioning coach at the Division I collegiate level, most recently served as assistant director of strength and conditioning for the University of Notre Dame.

2. Wellman is a registered master strength and conditioning coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA), a certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal trainer by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and a specialist in performance nutrition by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).

3. Prior to Notre Dame, Wellman spent four years as the director of strength and conditioning at the University of Michigan. He was responsible for the yearly programming of strength, speed and football-specific conditioning. Wellman performed movement screenings to evaluate mobility and stability deficits along with programs to mitigate individual injury risk. He implemented athlete-monitoring systems, including GPS, psychometric questionnaires, neuromuscular fatigue assessments and salivary testing.

4. Prior to his tenure at Michigan, Wellman held similar director positions at San Diego State University (2009-2011) and Ball State University (2004- 09). Wellman began his strength and conditioning career as a graduate assistant at Indiana University (1996-98). He then spent three years as a full-time assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Hoosiers and was primarily involved with the football, baseball and softball teams, as well as developing individual nutrition programs for student-athletes. Wellman also worked for three years at Michigan State University (2001-03).

5. A native of Ligonier, Indiana, Wellman was a four-year member of the Manchester (Indiana) College football team. He earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 1996. Wellman added separate master’s degrees from Indiana University in applied sport science (1998) and nutrition science (2009).

Adam Henry - Wide Receivers Coach


1. Adam Henry just finished his sixth season as an NFL coach and first as the 49ers wide receivers coach. Henry is a veteran of 18 seasons coaching at the professional and collegiate levels.

2. Henry joined the 49ers after three years (2012-14) as the wide receivers coach at Louisiana State University, where he helped develop two of the most successful receivers in school history: Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Beckham and Landry both finished their LSU careers ranked among the top 10 in school history in receptions and 100-yard games.

3. In 2014, LSU averaged 15.35 yards per completion, which was the best in the SEC. In 2013, the duo of Beckham and Landry became the first pair of receivers in school history to go over 1,000 yards in the same season. Landry led the Tigers with 77 receptions for 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Beckham caught 59 passes for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns. Beckham, who earned First-Team All-America honors as a kick returner and an all-purpose player in 2013, was also named the recipient of the 2013 Hornung Award as college football’s most versatile player. Henry helped send three LSU receivers to the NFL following the 2013 season, Beckham being selected by the New York Giants in the first round (12th overall), Landry by the Miami Dolphins in the second round (63rd overall) and James Wright by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round (239th overall). LSU was the only school in the country to have three wide receivers selected during the 2014 draft.

4. Prior to joining LSU, Henry spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders. Following two seasons as an offensive quality control coach (2007-08), Henry moved to coach Oakland’s tight ends for the next three years (2009-11). During his three years as tight ends coach of the Raiders, Henry continued the development of Zach Miller, who became the first tight end in franchise history to lead the team in receiving for three straight years. Miller set career highs in receptions (66) and receiving yards (805) in 2009, and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time the following season.

5. Henry joined the Raiders after 10 years at his alma mater, McNeese State University (1997-06). He spent his first nine seasons as the wide receivers coach (1997-05) before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2006. As the wide receivers coach, Henry helped develop Jermaine Martin, who finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (160) and receiving yards (2,646), as well as the 2003 Southland Conference Player of the Year, B.J. Sams. Prior to coaching, Henry was a wide receiver at McNeese State for four years (1990-93). He earned All-Southland Conference honors in 1993 and finished his collegiate career with 93 receptions for 1,690 yards and 16 touchdowns, all of which remain in the top-10 in school history. Following his career at McNeese State, Henry signed a free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints in 1994 and spent the 1995 season on the team’s practice squad, as well as the 1996 preseason. A native of Beaumont, TX, Henry graduated from McNeese State in 1998 and later received a Master’s degree in education in 2001.

Patrick Graham - Defensive Line Coach


1. Graham just completed his seventh season with the Patriots and second as the team’s linebackers coach. From 2012-13, Graham served as New England’s defensive line coach, which is the position he will be taking over with the Giants.

2. In 2015, the New England defense finished in the top 10 in total yards allowed, yards rushing allowed and points allowed. The defending Super Bowl champions made their 10th AFC Championship Game appearance under head coach Bill Belichick, ultimately losing by two points to the Broncos, who went on to beat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

3. Along the way to a victory in Super Bowl XLIX, the Patriots defense finished in the top 10 in league rankings in rushing yards allowed (9th), fourth-down percentage (6th) and red zone TD percentage (T-6th). In Graham's first three seasons as a defensive positional coach, the Patriots defense helped the club lead the NFL in turnover differential in 2012 and 2010 and finish first in the AFC in 2011.

4. Graham joined the Patriots after two seasons as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame (2007-08), where he worked with the defense. He previously spent three seasons coaching at Richmond, one as assistant defensive line coach (2004) and two as tight ends coach (2005-06). Prior to coaching at Richmond, Graham spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Wagner College (2002-03).

5. A native of Des Plaines, Ill., Graham played on the defensive line at Yale, earning a bachelor's degree in sociology in 2001 with a concentration of studies in economics and African American studies. A decorated student-athlete and Yale Merit Scholar, Graham earned the Jackie Robinson scholarship, Yale University Scholarship, Yankee Gas Scholarship and the State Heisman Trophy.

Bill McGovern - Linebackers Coach


1. Boasting 27 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, Bill McGovern joined the Eagles as outside linebackers coach in 2013 after spending the previous 12 years as the linebackers coach at Boston College and as their defensive coordinator since 2009.

2. During his tenure at Boston College, McGovern helped guide two linebackers to ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors: New York Giants LB Mark Herzlich (2008) and Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly (2011).

3. Under McGovern’s tutelage, Kuechly also captured the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the national defensive player of the year, the Butkus Award as the nation’s most outstanding linebacker, the Rotary Lombardi Award as the nation’s lineman or inside linebacker of the year and the Lott Impact Trophy as the defensive player of the year in 2011.

4. In 2014, Connor Barwin became the first Eagles linebacker to earn a Pro Bowl berth since 2005 (Jeremiah Trotter). Barwin also earned second team All-Pro honors with an NFC-leading 14.5 sacks.

5. McGovern also coached on the collegiate level at Pittsburgh, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and his alma mater, Holy Cross. A four-year starter at defensive back at Holy Cross, he was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1996.



Jeff Zgonina - Assistant Defensive Line Coach

1. Former NFL defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina, who retired from playing in 2009, earned his first coaching job in 2013 with the Texans as their assistant defensive line coach, the same position he will be assuming with the Giants.

2. Zgonina played 17 seasons in the NFL for the Steelers (1993-94), Panthers (1995), Falcons (1996), Rams (1997, 1999-2002), Colts (1998), Dolphins (2003-06) and Texans (2007-09). He played in 219 regular-season games with 67 starts, recording 26.0 sacks, 13 fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and an interception.

3. Zgonina played in two Super Bowls with the Rams, winning Super Bowl XXXIV over the Titans.

4. A former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at Purdue, Zgonina was selected in the seventh round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

5. A Chicago native, Zgonina is a member of the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame.