Indiana has reportedly (per Pete Thamel) hired Curt Cignetti of James Madison as the Hoosiers’ next head football coach.
It’s an interesting hire and a name that came up relatively late in the process. Not necessarily a name you’d know unless you pay a particular amount of attention to college football.
With that in mind, here’s three things to know about the new head Hoosier.
He’s a former Nick Saban assistant
Cignetti was on Nick Saban’s very first Alabama staff from 2007-2010. Prior to that he was an assistant at various programs such as Pitt, Rice, Temple and NC State.
Coaching wide receivers and serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator, Cignetti worked with future NFL First Team All-Pro Julio Jones and helped bring future stars like Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram II and Dont’a Hightower to Tuscaloosa.
The Tide won 29 consecutive regular season games with Cignetti as recruiting coordinator. The 2009 team won the national championship
He’s been a head coach for over a decade
Cignetti’s first head coaching job was at IUP in 2011, where he’d been hired after the aforementioned stint at Alabama.
From there, IUP finished with its first winning record in seven seasons during Cignetti’s first year. He won two conference championships and took IUP to multiple NCAA postseason berths. Elon was more of the same, a turnaround that eventually got the Phoenix into the playoffs.
James Madison speaks for itself. One of the top programs in all of FCS, good enough to make the move up to FBS and dominate from there under Cignetti’s watch.
He’s a former quarterback
Cignetti played quarterback at West Virginia from 1979-1982. His father, Frank Cignetti Sr, played football and basketball at IUP before a coaching career took him to the Mountaineers for a period of three seasons.