No. 24 James Madison Hires Holy Cross' Bob Chesney To Replace Football Coach Curt Cignetti

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — James Madison has hired Bob Chesney away from Holy Cross to take over as football coach after Curt Cignetti left for the same role at Indiana.

Athletic director Jeff Bourne made the announcement Thursday, a week after Cignetti's departure. The school said Chesney was given a five-year contract and will be introduced Dec. 12.

The Dukes (11-1) are ranked No. 24 and will play Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 23 in Fort Worth, Texas. Cignetti plans to coach through that game, and Chesney will not be part of the coaching staff. Bourne had said having a replacement in place quickly was of paramount importance so he could assess the Dukes' needs.

Chesney, 46, has been a head coach for 14 seasons, from the Championship Subdivision level to Division III, and has a record of 111-46. He's guided seven teams to conference championships, including five in a row at Holy Cross of the Patriot League. The Crusaders reached the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs in 2022.

Chesney's record in six seasons at Holy Cross was 44-21, including 29-8 the last three seasons. The trip to the FCS quarterfinals was the first for the program in 40 years.

“Ideally, we wanted a proven head coach with a track record of winning football games, both with frequency and against tough competition," Bourne said in a release announcing the hire. “We sought someone who would lead our young men to maximize their potential in all facets of life, including their off-the-field pursuits and academic success. ... Bob Chesney checks all those boxes and more.”


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