Curt Cignetti to Indiana: Five Candidates To Replace Him at James Madison

    Curt Cignetti is off to take the Indiana job, and now James Madison must figure out who will replace him.

    With great success comes great loss for the James Madison Dukes, as they saw head coach Curt Cignetti accept the Indiana head coaching position. The Dukes went 52-9 in his six seasons with the program, hosted College GameDay for the first time, and qualified for a bowl game.

    While it hurts to see him leave, the program must find a replacement. They might not have to look far to find their next guy, though. Here are five candidates to take over the Dukes program.

    Top Candidates for James Madison

    Alex Atkins, Florida State Offensive Coordinator

    While everyone gives Mike Norvell love for Florida State’s offense (and for good reason), Alex Atkins should be right next to him receiving that praise. The Seminoles put together one of the best offenses in college football this year, and their play-caller is a big reason why.

    Atkins should be considered for a number of jobs, but James Madison could be one that gives him a legitimate shot. He knows what he’s doing as a play-caller, but he also gives them an offensive line coach that can ensure the trenches are stout.

    Bob Chesney, Holy Cross Head Coach

    Chesney could be in line for some head coaching positions at the Power Five level, but it’s more likely that he’d get a Group of Five gig. He’s currently 44-21 at Holy Cross and has dominated in conference play, going 28-4.

    MORE: 2023 College Football Bowl Projections

    Chesney will bring good energy to the Dukes program, and his winning production at every level so far tells fans that he knows how to build a program. He’s also relatively young, so he could stick around for a while to keep the Dukes’ winning tradition going.

    Mike Shanahan, James Madison Offensive Coordinator

    Not that Mike Shanahan. Though, like the former great Denver Broncos head coach, James Madison’s version of Mike Shanahan is well on his way to success. Just 33 years old, he’s already a rising star in the industry, and the Dukes won’t have to go far to find a good candidate to take the job.

    Shanahan’s been a big part of elevating the offense. His work with quarterbacks Todd Centeio and Jordan McCloud stand out the most over the past couple of years, and being a head coach is just the next step in his journey.

    Bryant Haines, James Madison Defensive Coordinator

    Again, James Madison doesn’t have to go far to find quality candidates. If you watched James Madison this year, you saw a relentless defense that lived in the opposing backfield. Not only did Haines call a great defense, but he also developed plenty of talent to make that happen.

    Both Haines and Shanahan could follow Cignetti to Indiana, but there’s a feeling at least one of them would stay to keep the Dukes program going. The recruiting class would benefit from an internal hire, and the defense wouldn’t skip a beat with Haines in charge.

    Joe Harasymiak, Rutgers Defensive Coordinator

    Harasymiak continues to rise up in the coaching ranks thanks to his work at Rutgers, where he produced a solid defense for the Scarlet Knights. He also spent time as an assistant at Minnesota, which got him the Rutgers job, but he also has some key experience that makes him stand out above the rest.

    The Scarlet Knights signal-caller brings head coaching experience to the table. Before he took the job at Minnesota, he was the head coach at Maine. The Black Bears went 20-15 in his three seasons there, making it to the FCS semifinals in a 10-4 season in 2018.

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

    Related Articles