After an 11-1 regular season in just its second year at the FBS level, the James Madison Dukes found itself amid a head coaching search as Curt Cignetti accepted the same job at Indiana. It should come as no surprise that the Dukes dipped back into the FCS ranks to hire Holy Cross head coach Bob Chesney.
Bob Chesney Named Head Coach at James Madison
Chesney is 46 years old and has been the head coach at Division III Salve Regina, Division II Assumption, and FCS Holy Cross, the latter of which he took over in 2018. Chesney has been successful at every stop, amassing a 111-46 (.707) career record at the college level.
Chesney’s conference record at each of his head coaching stops is even more astounding. His teams finished first or tied for first in their conference eight times in 14 seasons, including five straight conference titles at Holy Cross, dating back to his second year in 2019.
Chesney’s .812 career conference winning percentage is among the best marks in all of college football and he was 28-4 at Holy Cross.
Born in Kulpmont, Pennsylvania, Chesney is a graduate of Dickinson College.
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Chesney has a reputation as a detail-oriented program builder who has been successful at every stop. In fact, he’s only had one losing season and has lost more than four games in a season just once after his first year at a school.
He likes to recruit his type of player and excels at player retention, an important trait in today’s college football climate.
Chesney will likely look for a dual-threat quarterback in the transfer portal.
At Holy Cross, quarterback Matthew Sluka ran for 1,247 yards this season, including 330 yards against Lafayette, a Division I record for quarterbacks. He’ll have a tall task replacing several key contributors from last year’s James Madison squad.
Chesney still keeps in touch with former players and is extremely detail-oriented. He’s won everywhere he’s been, and no indication will change at James Madison. As one former player put it, his attention to the small things that most other coaches miss gives him an advantage on and off the field.