FootballHiringSun Belt

Bob Chesney announced as the new head coach at James Madison

JMU has its new head football coach in Bob Chesney, who has spent the last six seasons at FCS Holy Cross and gone 44-21 (28-4) overall.

“We were methodical and intentional in casting a wide net to identify the next head coach of James Madison football,” said AD Jeff Bourne, “and I confidently believe that we found the total package in Bob Chesney. Ideally, we wanted a proven head coach with a track record of winning football games, both with frequency and against tough competition. We sought someone who would lead our young men to maximize their potential in all facets of life, including their off-the-field pursuits and academic success. We prioritized someone with experience at managing all facets of a modern Division I football program and particularly with ties to the East Coast. We also desired someone who would connect with our staff, would resonate with our fan base and would relish the opportunity to be a JMU Duke. Bob Chesney checks all those boxes and more. JMU football has established itself in short order as one of the top programs in the Sun Belt Conference and in all of FBS football as a nationally-ranked program. We have high standards for all aspects of our program, and I’m proud to hand over those keys to Bob Chesney. On behalf of President Alger, our university Board of Visitors and our hiring committee, I’m excited to welcome Bob and Andrea and their three children to our JMU community. Please welcome them to JMU Nation with open arms!”

Chesney, 46, has never coached at the FBS level but has extensive head coaching experience, winning at every stop. Before Holy Cross, he spent five seasons at D-II Assumption (MA) and three at D-III Salve Regina (RI). He has 111 total wins in 14 seasons as a head coach, and over the last three seasons at CHC went 29-8. The Crusaders have won the Patriot League five years in a row after finishing 2nd in Chesney’s first year there.

“My family and I are excited for this opportunity to join the James Madison family and to lead this football program,” Chesney said. “I’ve watched the JMU football program rise to one of the top in the FCS before then transitioning to the FBS level in truly unprecedented fashion. This program has such rich tradition, and the culture of the program expectations are firmly planted. I understand the responsibility that comes with leading the James Madison football program and am ready to hit the ground running to take it to even greater heights. I want to personally thank President Alger, Jeff Bourne, Board of Visitors Rector Maribeth Herod and the hiring committee for this opportunity. Many folks in JMU Nation have already reached out with their support. The passion at JMU is unmatched, and we can’t wait to be a part of the community in Harrisonburg. Go Dukes!”

The Dukes will face off against Air Force later this month in the Armed Forces Bowl, led by interim head coach Damian Wroblewski. The team was led the last five years by Curt Cignetti, who went 52-9 (31-4) overall and 19-4 (13-3) in the program’s first two years at the FBS level. Cignetti took the head coaching job at Indiana last month.

Though they were expected to be left out of the bowl picture due to the current transition, the 11-1 Dukes scored a bowl bid after not enough FBS teams reached the 6-win threshold.


credit to James Madison Athletics for the image