American Football Database
James Madison Dukes football
File:JamesMadisonDukes.png File:JMU Dukes football helmet.gif
First season 1972
Head coach Mickey Matthews
Home stadium Bridgeforth Stadium and Zane Showker Field
Stadium capacity 25,000
Stadium surface FieldTurf
Location Harrisonburg, Virginia
League NCAA Division I FCS
Conference Colonial Athletic Association
All-time record 256–194–4
Postseason bowl record
Claimed national titles 1 (2004)
Conference titles 4 (1975, 1999, 2004, 2008)
Colors Purple and Gold            
Fight song JMU Fight Song
Mascot Duke Dog
Marching band Marching Royal Dukes
Outfitter Nike
Rivals Richmond Spiders
William & Mary Tribe
Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
Website JMU Football

JMU vs. Central Connecticut, 9/10/2011

The James Madison Dukes football team, founded in 1972, plays at Bridgeforth Stadium. Originally called JMU Stadium, it was renamed for William E. Bridgeforth in 1990. The JMU football team was rarely the centerpiece of JMU sports until the hiring of Mickey Matthews in 1999. Since then, JMU has gained recognition as one of the top programs in NCAA Division I FCS football.

Notable Dukes include Charles Haley, the only player to win five Super Bowl rings and inductee of the College Football Hall of Fame;[1] Scott Norwood, the Buffalo Bills' all-time leading scorer; and Gary Clark, a pro bowl wide receiver for the Washington Redskins.


Just five years after (then) Madison College had become a coeducational institution, the Dukes fielded their first football team. Football was the brainchild of Dr. Ronald Carrier, Madison's president at the time, who was attempting to change the psychology of the campus away from an all-women's teachers colleges.[citation needed] The first game took place on October 7, 1972 against Shepherd College's junior varsity team at Harrisonburg High School. The team consisted of a few dozen walk-ons and was coached by 30 year-old Challace McMillin.

In 1975, the Dukes had their first – and, to date, only – undefeated season and won the Virginia College Athletic Association title. Two players, Madison Hall of Fame quarterback Les Branich and offensive guard Jeff Adams, played on both the Dukes' only winless season in 1972 and its only undefeated season in 1975.[2][3]

For the 1980 season, Madison made the jump from NCAA Division III to NCAA Division I-AA where they played as an Independent through 1992. After twelve seasons the Dukes would join the Yankee Conference, which would become the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1997, then finally the Colonial Athletic Association in 2007.[4]

Under Mickey Matthews

The Dukes made the NCAA playoffs in current head coach Mickey Matthews' first year with the team and in 2004, the Dukes won the Division I-AA (now FCS) National Championship behind quarterback Justin Rascati and running back Raymond Hines. They were the first and only team to win three games on the road to advance to the National Championship Game. They returned to the playoffs in 2006 but suffered an early exit to the hands of Youngstown State University. The Dukes went to the playoffs again in 2007, traveling to Appalachian State in the first round. While down 27-28, JMU lost the game with a fumble on the ASU 8-yard line in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. In 2008, they posted a 10-1 season record (the lone loss coming in the season opener to FBS team Duke) and received the top seed in the playoffs behind sensational quarterback Rodney Landers. After defeating Wofford and Villanova (for the second time that season), they were defeated by the Montana Grizzlies in the semi-final round after Landers went down with an ankle injury.

A $62 million dollar stadium expansion to Bridgeforth was completed in 2011, adding an upper deck, club seating and 17 private suites. Bridgeforth's official seating capacity is approximately 25,000, and is designed so it may be expanded to seat over 40,000.

On September 11, 2010, JMU defeated the FBS #13 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies 21-16 at Lane Stadium in front of over 66,000 fans.[5][6] James Madison was only the second FCS team to beat a nationally ranked team. Appalachian State defeated #5 ranked Michigan in 2007.

Matthews gained his 100th career victory on October 6, 2012 in a 13-10 win over the Towson Tigers.[7]

Seasons under Mickey Matthews

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Rank#
James Madison Dukes (Atlantic 10 Conference) (1999–2006)
1999 James Madison 8–4 7–1 1st FCS First Round 12/13
2000 James Madison 6–5 4–4 4th 25
2001 James Madison 2–9 0–9 11th
2002 James Madison 5–7 3–6 9th
2003 James Madison 6–6 4–5 7th
2004 James Madison 13–2 7–1 T-1st W FCS Championship 1
2005 James Madison 7–4 5–3 2nd (South) 25
2006 James Madison 9–3 7–1 1st (South) FCS First Round 9
James Madison Dukes (Colonial Athletic Association) (2007–present)
2007 James Madison 8–4 6–2 2nd (South) FCS First Round 12
2008 James Madison 12–2 8–0 1st (South) FCS Semi-finals 3
2009 James Madison 6–5 4–4 T-5th (South)
2010 James Madison 6–5 3–5 T-8th
2011 James Madison 8-5 5–3 T-5th FCS Second Round 14
2012 James Madison 7-2 5-1
Total: 103–63
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.

Conference affiliations

Head coaches

All-time records

James Madison's all time record stands at 256 wins, 194 losses, and 4 ties in 41 seasons (as of October 29, 2012).[8]

All-time coaching records

Years Coach Seasons Wins Losses Ties Pct.
1972–1984 Challace McMillin 13 67 60 2 .527
1985–1991 Joe Purzycki 6 34 30 2 .530
1992–1994 Rip Scherer 4 29 19 .604
1995–1998 Alex Wood 4 23 22 .511
1999–present Mickey Matthews 14 103 63 .620
Totals Coaches Seasons Wins Losses Ties Pct.
1972–2012 5 41 256 194 4 .568


External links