Big TenFootballHiringSun Belt

Indiana hires JMU’s Curt Cignetti as next head football coach

Curt Cignetti, who has gone 52-9 in five years at James Madison, has been hired as the next head football coach at Indiana. Cignetti’s team is 11-1 this year, just their second playing at the FBS level, and this week was named 2023 Sun Belt Coach of the Year.

“I am very excited to welcome Curt Cignetti as the head football coach at Indiana University,” AD Scott Dolson said in a statement. “We had a very talented and deep pool of candidates, and Curt stood out thanks to an incredible track record of success over more than four decades in college football. As a head coach he’s succeeded everywhere he’s been, and as an assistant he has been a part of championship cultures while working alongside some of the game’s best coaches. I appreciate the tremendous support throughout this process of Chair Quinn Buckner and the IU Board of Trustees and President Pam Whitten, all of whom were critical in making this day a reality.”

In his first three seasons at JMU, when the program was in FCS, Cignetti finished 2nd or 3rd in the nation each year and only lost one total CAA game. The Dukes didn’t miss a beat after joining the Sun Belt in 2022, earning a share of the East division title at 6-2 (8-3 overall). They took another step forward this year, losing just once all year to Appalachian State in overtime. Though ineligible for the Sun Belt title game (which they would otherwise be in) and a bowl game, they will actually play in a bowl as not enough teams reached the 6-win threshold.

Prior to JMU, Cignetti successfully built up the football programs at both FCS Elon and Division II Indiana (PA). His track record for quick turnarounds and consistent positive results have made him a coveted coach on this current cycle. He also worked on staff at Temple, Pittsburgh, and NC State before joining Nick Saban’s first staff at Alabama in 2007. He coached the wide receivers and served as recruiting coordinator for the Tide for four seasons, earning a national championship ring in 2009.

“I am excited to lead this program forward and change the culture, mindset, and expectation level of Hoosier football,” Cignetti said. “I want to thank Director of Athletics Scott Dolson and President Pam Whitten, and I look forward to working with both in building something special at IU. Both share my vision and belief that big things are ahead for the IU program.”

Indiana is historically a basketball school with a struggling football program, something that has been very true over the last few seasons. Former head coach Tom Allen was fired last week after going 9-27 (3-24) in the last three years and 33-49 (18-43) overall.


credit to Indiana Athletics for the image