Curt Cignetti
Current position
TitleHead coach
TeamJames Madison
Biographical details
Born (1961-06-02) June 2, 1961 (age 59)
Playing career
Head coaching record
Tournaments4–3 (NCAA D-II playoffs)
0–2 (NCAA D-I playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
1 PSAC (2012)
2 PSAC West Division (2012, 2015)
PSAC Coach of the Year (2012)
CAA Coach of the Year (2017)

Curt Cignetti (born June 2, 1961) is an American football coach who is currently the head coach for the James Madison Dukes football team of NCAA Division I Football Championship (FCS). He previously served as the head coach for Elon Phoenix football and was an assistant coach for the University of Alabama for four years.

Playing careerEdit

Cignetti was a two-year letterman at West Virginia University.[1]

Coaching careerEdit

Early coaching careerEdit

After graduating from West Virginia, Cignetti coached at the University of Pittsburgh for Hall of Fame coach Johnny Majors. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Pitt in 1983 under Foge Fazio. He has also coached at Davidson College, Rice University, and Temple University.[1]

NC StateEdit

Cignetti joined Chuck Amato's new staff at NC State in 2000. The 2002 team set a school record with 11 wins. In 2003, Cignetti coached Quarterback Philip Rivers, the ACC Player of the Year. In seven seasons, the Wolfpack participated in five bowls, winning four. In 2006, Cignetti recruited future Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson to the Wolfpack before joining Nick Saban's new staff at Alabama.


Cignetti was an original member of Saban's Alabama coaching staff in 2007, serving as wide receiver coach/recruiting coordinator. The 2008 team finished the regular season 12–0 and the 2009 team finished 14–0 and won the national championship. The Tide won 29 regular season games in a row between 2008 and 2010. Cignetti coached wide receiver Julio Jones and recruited Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram Jr. and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, all members of the 2008 recruiting class, which featured six first-round NFL Draft choices.


IUP had a 4–10 conference record prior to Cignetti's arrival in 2011. In his first year as head coach, the team won 6 of its last 7 games, by an average of 28 points per game, to finish 7–3. In 2012, The Crimson Hawks won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals, finishing 12–2. Cignetti’s 2013 team finished 9–2 and he led IUP to the NCAAplayoffs in both 2015 and 2016. His 2016 team finished 10–2. Cignetti finished 53–17 at IUP with three NCAA playoff appearances and two conference championships. On December 31, 2016, he accepted the head coaching position at Elon University.


The Elon team had had a 4–20 conference record and suffered through six straight losing seasons prior to Cignetti's arrival, but in his first season the squad won eight games in a row after an opening season loss to MAC Champion Toledo. The Phoenix were ranked as high as 6th nationally, played James Madison for the conference championship and were selected for the NCAA Playoffs for the first time since 2009. Cignetti was named CAA coach of the year and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year. In 2018, Cignetti led the Phoenix to a 27–24 win over James Madison, ending JMU's 22-game CAA Football winning streak and then FCS-best 19-game home winning streak. The win marked Elon's first over a top-five FCS opponent.[2] The Phoenix earned back to back NCAA playoff appearances for the first time in program history.

Personal lifeEdit

Cignetti and his wife, Manette, have three children, Curtis Jr., Carly Ann, and Natalie Elise. Cignetti's father, Frank Cignetti Sr., is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and won 199 games as a head coach at West Virginia University and IUP.[3]

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
IUP Crimson Hawks (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) (2011–2016)
2011 IUP 7–3 5–2 3rd (West)
2012 IUP 12–2 6–1 1st (West) L NCAA Division II Quarterfinal
2013 IUP 9–2 5–2 2nd (West)
2014 IUP 6–5 5–4 5th (West)
2015 IUP 9–3 6–1 1st (West) L NCAA Division II Second Round
2016 IUP 10–2 6–1 2nd (West) L NCAA Division II Second Round
IUP: 53–17 33–11
Elon Phoenix (Colonial Athletic Association) (2017–2018)
2017 Elon 8–4 6–2 3rd L FCS Playoffs First Round
2018 Elon 6–5 4–3 6th L FCS Playoffs First Round
Elon: 14–9 10–5
James Madison Dukes (Colonial Athletic Association) (2019–present)
2019 James Madison 0–0 0–0
James Madison: 0–0 0–0
Total: 67–26
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game.


External linksEdit

Template:Colonial Athletic Association football coach navbox

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