Indiana Hires James Madison's Curt Cignetti As Next Head Football Coach

By Chase Brown on December 1, 2023 at 2:33 pm
Curt Cignetti
David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana has hired James Madison's Curt Cignetti as its next head football coach, the school announced on Thursday.

Indiana fired Tom Allen on Sunday, one day after the Hoosiers completed their third consecutive losing season. Allen, who had coached Indiana since 2017, had a 33-49 record in seven seasons as Hoosiers coach. The Hoosiers dropped their final three contests, including the Old Oaken Bucket Game at Purdue on Saturday, and went 3-9 in 2023. Allen and Indiana went 9-26 overall and 3-24 in Big Ten competition since their impressive 2020 campaign, which resulted in a 6-2 record and a narrow 26-20 loss to Ole Miss in the Outback Bowl.

Cignetti, named the 2023 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year on Thursday, led James Madison through a seamless transition to the FBS. The Dukes went 11-1 this season and won the Sun Belt.

"I am excited to lead this program forward and change the culture, mindset, and expectation level of Hoosier football," Cignetti said in a statement. "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."

Dolson, whom Cignetti mentioned in his message, also shared his excitement for the hire in a statement from the Indiana athletic department.

"I am very excited to welcome Curt Cignetti as the head football coach at Indiana University," 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."

Across five seasons in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Cignetti collected a 52-9 record at James Madison, including a 31-4 record in conference competition.

This year, the Dukes were not eligible for their conference title game as it transitioned from the FCS to the FBS level. An NCAA rule states that schools are not eligible for the postseason for two years during the transition. However, since there were not enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all the bowl slots in 2023, James Madison is allowed to go bowling this season.

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