Dukes hire Cignetti away from Elon

HARRISONBURG, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- James Madison didn't have to look too far to find the school's next football coach.

JMU announced late Friday afternoon that it had hired Curt Cignetti away from CAA rival Elon. Cignetti spent the past two years at Elon, leading the Phoenix to the FCS playoffs in both seasons and finishing with a 14-9 record. That includes a 27-24 win over the Dukes in Harrisonburg this past season, a win that pushed Elon to No. 5 in the national rankings and ended JMU's 19-game home winning streak.

Cignetti is 67-26 overall in eight seasons as a head coach. His first six years as a head coach came at Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Cignetti's career as an assistant coach includes seven seasons as recruiting coordinator at NC State -- with stints coaching the Wolfpack's tight ends and quarterback as well -- and four years as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama. Cignetti's coaching career began as a graduate assistant under Johnny Majors at Pitt.

At JMU, Cignetti follows Mike Houston, who left the Dukes to take the head coaching job at East Carolina. Houston went 37-6 in his three seasons in Harrisonburg, leading the Dukes to the 2016 FCS national championship, then back to the national title game last season.

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