JMU picks Elon’s Cignetti to replace Mike Houston as head football coach

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Curt Cignetti Signs With JMU

JMU has named Curt Cignetti as its newest head football coach just over two months after Cignetti’s Elon Phoenix came to Harrisonburg and stunned the then No. 2 Dukes in front of a packed Family Weekend crowd.

JMU announced the 36-year coaching veteran’s six year contract on Friday. Cignetti will be the eighth head coach in JMU’s history. 

Cignetti, who led the Phoenix to a 14-9 record and an FCS playoff appearance in his two seasons at Elon, was the only coach to beat former JMU head coach Mike Houston in Harrisonburg during Houston’s three year span with the Dukes. The Phoenix lost in the first round of the playoffs this year to No. 12 Wofford, 19-7. JMU lost in the second round of the playoffs on the road at Colgate, 23-20 after topping CAA rival Delaware at home, 20-6. 

“I respect and understand the tradition of James Madison football and the great things that have gone on here in its growth and development, said Cignetti in a press release Friday afternoon. “We’re going to have high goals and expectations and a blueprint to become the best we can be, there will be no self-imposed limitations on what we can accomplish. I’m anxious and eager to meet the players when they return on January 7th and just can’t tell you how excited I am to be the head football coach at James Madison.”

Houston is now the coach at East Carolina after a dramatic series of events that saw the University of North Carolina at Charlotte both offer and later retract a head coaching position to Houston. 

Cignetti will be formerly introduced at a press conference on Monday in Harrisonburg.

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