BREAKING: Ponce to coach Hurricanes QBS, has past ties to Cristobal
Appalachian State offensive coordinator Frank Ponce, who was Mario Cristobal's wide receivers coach at FIU from 2007-12, will become Miami's new quarterbacks coach, sources told CaneSport Wednesday.
Ponce will be reunited with the new Cane coach and work aside new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. The agreement came together Wednesday morning after a search that extended to several candidates around the country.
Ponce had to decide whether to give up coordinator duties that he filled very capably at Appalachian State, where the Mountaineers averaged 34.5 points and 441.3 yards per game. Ponce ran a shotgun spread that also used two-back looks. This past season under Ponce, his team ran more than it passed (567 rush attempts, 413 passes),. a philosophy that aligns with the power spread that Gattis is expected to run at Miami and was perfected by Alabama through the years.
The final selling point for Ponce was the chance to work under Gattis, who won the Broyles Award this year as the nation's top assistant, and perhaps evolve into a generational offensive coach at Miami who could become coordinator if and when the rising Gattis moves on to a head coaching position.
He has experience and also has local ties with past high school coaching experience in the area. He was head coach and offensive coordinator at tradition-laden Miami Senior High from 2004-06 and the head coach at Coral Reef High from 2002-03. He began his coaching career with stints as an assistant at La Progresiva Presbyterian School (offensive coordinator - 1992), Coral Gables High (quarterbacks/wide receivers - 1993-96), Miami Northwestern High (quarterbacks - 1998), Miami Central High (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks - 1999-2000) and Miami Killian High (offensive coordinator - 2001). As a coach at Miami Central, he mentored Willis McGahee, who went on to become an All-America running back at the University of Miami and a two-time NFL Pro Bowler.
After his coaching experience in the area it was on to FIU, where coached six of the top 10 receivers in Panthers history during his six seasons with the Golden Panthers. His most notable pupil at FIU was three-time All-American T.Y. Hilton, now a standout with the Indianapolis Colts.
After Cristobal went to Oregon, Ponce found a job at App State as the passing game coordinator/QB coach from 2013-18. In his first season back with App State, quarterback Chase Brice set a single-season program record for passing yards (3,337) and the Mountaineers extended their FBS-leading streak of consecutive years with a 1,000-yard rusher to 10 while averaging 34.5 points per game. The offense helped App State post a 10-win regular season and win the Sun Belt’s East Division title.
Under Ponce’s mentorship at App State once Brice left, QB Taylor Lamb finished his App State career as the school and Sun Belt record holder with 90 touchdown passes. The only FBS quarterbacks in 2017 with career totals of at least 9,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards were Lamb, Ohio State's J.T. Barrett and Louisville's Lamar Jackson. With 27 touchdown passes and six interceptions as a senior, Lamb had the third-best season for an App State quarterback in terms of touchdown-to-interception ratio, and he led the conference in passing efficiency during three of his four seasons.
When Scott Satterfield left App State to become Louisville’s head coach, Ponce joined the Cardinals’ staff. He was Louisville’s quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for two years and in 2019 oversaw the development of Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham, who set the school record with a passing efficiency rating of 194.45 — a number that would have ranked No. 2 nationally with one more pass attempt. Cunningham threw for 4,682 yards with 42 touchdowns, rushed for 1,091 yards with 13 touchdowns and completed 63.6 percent of his throws in his two seasons with Ponce, becoming the only Louisville quarterback to ever have four touchdown passes of at least 75 yards.
This past year Ponce returned to App State as its coordinator, and now it's on to Miami where he’ll get a chance to impart his wisdom to Cane QB Tyler Van Dyke, who starred as a first-year starter at UM this past season, completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 293.1 yards per game with 25 TDs and six interceptions and also develop Jake Garcia and Jacurri Brown.
So yes, Ponce has some tools at his disposal.
Also of note: Ponce is renowned for his recruiting ability, and he was named the Sun Belt’s top recruiter by ESPN.com in 2010.
A native of Miami, Ponce enjoyed a decorated playing career as a quarterback at Miami Senior, where he was the team MVP and a finalist for the 1988 Miami Herald Hispanic Athlete of the Year Award. He went on to become the starting quarterback for two years at Arizona Western College, where he earned an associate's degree in arts in 1990. He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from Florida International in 1997.
THE PONCE FILE
1992: La Progresiva Presbyterian School (Offensive coordinator)
1993-96: Coral Gables H.S. (Quarterbacks/Wide receivers)
1998: Miami Northwestern H.S. (Quarterbacks)
1999-2000: Miami Central H.S. (Offensive coordinator/QBs)
2002-03: Miami Coral Reef H.S. (Head coach)
2004-06: Miami Senior H.S. (Head coach/Offensive coordinator)
2007-12: Florida International (Wide receivers)
2013-18: App State (Co-Offensive coordinator, Passing game/QBs)
2019-20: Louisville (Passing game coordinator/QBs)
2021-present: App State (Offensive coordinator/QBs)
1989-90: Arizona Western (QB)
Alma Mater: Florida International, 1997
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
Birthdate: April 3, 1971