Cavanaugh resigned under pressure the day after a 9-7 season where Baltimore slumped to a franchise-worst 31st in total offense and missed the playoffs.
Cavanaugh was a finalist for the Pitt head coaching job that ultimately went to former Miami Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt, another Panthers football alum whom he once worked for as the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator.
"The most rewarding thing about taking this position is the opportunity to come back home to Pitt," Cavanaugh said. "I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with coach Wannstedt again. We have a great nucleus at Pitt, and I can't wait to get started."
In 1976, Cavanaugh was the MVP in a 27-3 Sugar Bowl win over Georgia and was named a consensus All-American. The former second-round draft pick won two Super Bowl rings as Joe Montana's backup with the San Francisco 49ers and another with the Ravens.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Cavanaugh was oft-criticized in Baltimore, but returns to Pitt as a highly regarded veteran coach with NFL experience. He began his coaching career at Pitt in 1993 as tight ends coach under Johnny Majors. In his six years as the Ravens' offensive coordinator, Baltimore never finished higher than 14th in total offense. The Ravens ranked last in passing in 2003 and 31st in passing in 2003.
"First and foremost, Matt brings coaching experience and expertise at the quarterback position," Wannstedt said. "Secondly, he brings the strong desire to make the University of Pittsburgh the best it can be. I know we share the same coaching philosophies. He is the type of person we need to have in our program."
NOTES: Fullback Alan Ricard's contract extension is through 2008 with base salaries of $695,000 in 2005, $850,000 in 2006 and $1 million in both 2007 and 2008. ... Backup long snapper Mike Solwold, who eschewed a chance to sign with the eventual Super Bowl champions last season, has joined the New England Patriots' practice squad.
Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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