Curt Cignetti Resigns as Head Coach of JMU Football

Curt Cignetti Resigns as Head Coach of JMU Football

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Curt Cignetti Resigns as Head Coach of JMU Football
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HARRISONBURG, Va. ÔÇô James Madison Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne announced Thursday that football Head Coach Curt Cignetti will depart from the university after accepting another head coaching opportunity at Indiana.
 
“I want to thank Curt Cignetti for his dedication and commitment to excellence as head football coach at James Madison,” Bourne said. “He successfully steered JMU football through a critical period in our history. With our reclassification period now complete, James Madison is firmly established as one of the top Group of Five programs in the country and an ideal destination as we head into a 12-team playoff era.”
 
JMU President Jonathan Alger said, “We are grateful to Coach Curt Cignetti and acknowledge the tremendous transformation he led with the JMU football program. Through his leadership and in partnership with AD Jeff Bourne and all of us in leadership at JMU, our university and JMU Athletics have made history with a seamless transition to the Sun Belt Conference and FBS level, and we will soon make history again by playing in our first FBS bowl game. We congratulate Curt and his family on the next steps in his coaching career, as he has built a tremendous legacy at JMU.”
 
Cignetti led the Dukes for five seasons (2019-23), guiding the team to a 52-9 overall record. That run has been highlighted by successfully taking JMU through its reclassification to the Football Bowl Subdivision, a period during which it has gone 19-4 in its first two seasons as a member of the Sun Belt and 13-3 in conference games to finish atop the Sun Belt East Division in both seasons. The 19-4 mark in two seasons of FBS competition ranks third among all 64 Group of Five institutions.
 
“This was a really difficult decision and I really wrestled with it hard,” Cignetti said. “These were the best five years of my professional life. We accomplished a lot every year but particularly the last two and this season was so special. I had total intentions and plans to retire here. I had a great job. The university really upped their commitment and did everything possible to keep me and the staff here. They couldn’t have done any more than they did. I thank Jeff Bourne and President Jon Alger for that and for their tremendous support during our tenure here. JMU is a special place in so many different ways. They’re going to continue to have great success in the future. It will be a very attractive opportunity. I’ll miss the players who are returning, the relationships we’ve formed, the people who love and care about JMU football, the donor base, the fans and the relationships that my wife Manette and I have developed in our time in Harrisonburg. This is really hard to leave, but sometimes you have to make hard decisions and get uncomfortable again to grow, and I’m too young to stop growing. This is a challenge, a big challenge, but I’m confident like all the other challenges I’ve had in my career as a head coach that we’re going to open some eyes nationally and in the Big Ten Conference. I will miss JMU and have nothing but fond memories, and I know the history is great here and the people are even better. Go Dukes!”
 
JMU finished its first FBS season in 2022 with an 8-3 record and 6-2 mark in SBC play, reaching the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history.
 
In year two of the reclassification, JMU finished the regular season with a remarkable 11-1 record and 7-1 ledger in the Sun Belt for the best overall record in the conference. JMU ranked as high at No. 18 in the AP Top 25 and has been ranked for six straight weeks, concluding the regular season at No. 24.
 
The Dukes put together a 13-game win streak spanning the conclusion of the 2022 season and start of the 2023 campaign, which at the time was the fourth-longest active win streak in the FBS and the third-longest streak in program history.
 
JMU set a record for transitioning teams this season, capturing 10 wins over FBS opponents, as no team had ever won more than eight in either year of a transition. The Dukes also captured eight wins over bowl-eligible teams this season to lead the FBS and was the only team in the subdivision to go 6-0 in true road games during the regular season.
 
Prior to the move to FBS, Cignetti and JMU won three straight Colonial Athletic Association championships, reaching the FCS title game in 2019 and the semifinal round in both 2020 and 2021.
 
Collegiate Sports Associated has been retained as the search firm to assist with an immediate national search for JMU’s next head football coach.
 
Alger added, “In the coming weeks, I want our full focus and support to be on our student-athletes and the pending bowl game we have all anxiously awaited. Given our long track record of success, we are confident that the coaching job at JMU will be a highly coveted position, and that we will attract a very strong national pool of candidates.”
 


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Curt Cignetti Resigns as Head Coach of JMU Football

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