#JMUNation is eager to see how the new Dukes head coach will follow up what Mike Houston accomplished.
Houston is now at East Carolina. To replace him, athletic director Jeff Bourne signed Curt Cignetti to a six-year contract to be the eighth coach in the history of the James Madison program.
[divider]MCLAUGHLIN: JMU Hires Cignetti[divider]
Fans never want a highly-successful football coach to leave town, but there's reason for optimism moving forward.
In two years as Elon’s head coach, Cignetti split two games versus JMU. In 2018, Cignetti and the Phoenix beat the Dukes 27-24 on family weekend in Harrisonburg, becoming the first coach in Elon history to defeat a top-five ranked opponent (No. 2 JMU) and handed JMU their first CAA loss in 22 games.
Cignetti's 14-9 record in two seasons at Elon was a significant improvement from their 12-45 record the five seasons prior.
Cignetti landed at Elon by way of his first head coaching position at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). His father, Frank Cignetti, was the head coach at IUP from 1986-2005. For Frank Cignetti’s accomplishments at IUP, their current field is named in his honor and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Cignetti's bloodlines go further than his father, too. His brother, Frank Jr, is a QB coach in the NFL
IUP's second Cignetti had a record of 53-17 in six years. He led the team to three D2 playoff appearances.
Cignetti's previously served as recruiting coordinator and receivers coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide from 2007-10. At 'Bama, Cignetti, under the leadership of head coach Nick Saban, won the national title in 2009 and produced more than 20 future NFL players in the three years.
Dating back to 1983, Cignetti has been integral to many major collegiate football programs – everything from coaching quarterbacks or tight ends to helping the best of the best recruit championship talent to reviving two programs of his own.
Some of his former positions include: Recruiting coordinator for NC State (2000-06); recruiting coordinator at Pitt (1993-99); QB coach at Rice, Temple and Davidson (1985-1992). He also coached wide receivers for Davidson.
Coaching is in Cignetti's blood. But it appears winning is, too, and that unquestionably bodes well for JMU.