James Madison Dukes Coaching Staff 2023

    Entering their second season in the FBS, the James Madison Dukes coaching staff is assembled for future success for the program.

    After an impressive 8-3 record in their first season in the FBS, the James Madison Dukes look to continue their success in year two in the Sun Belt Conference. A big reason for that is the job that head coach Curt Cignetti and his staff have done to make the transition seamless.

    James Madison Dukes Coaching Staff

    Head Coach, Curt Cignetti

    There haven’t been a lot of coaches who have had the success that Curt Cignetti has had in his career. Every team he has been a head coach for has always had a winning record in the regular season. He has a career head coaching record of 109-34.

    His first head coaching job came in 2011 with the Division II school IUP Crimson Hawks of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. In six seasons with the program, the Crimson Hawks went 53-17 winning the conference twice and finishing second twice as well. They made the NCAA Division II playoffs three times with their best run being a quarterfinals loss in 2012.

    After a strong run with the Crimson Hawks, Cignetti moved on to Elon to coach the Phoenix football team of the Colonial Athletic Association in FCS. He only spent two seasons with the program with a 14-9 record and making the playoffs in both seasons. They had first-round exits in both playoff appearances.

    In 2019, James Madison came giving Cignetti a new challenge with what would be a dominant run for the head coach. The Dukes went 14-2 in their first season but lost to North Dakota State 28-20 in the national championship. It was similar results in the next two seasons. The team combined for a 19-3 record and in both seasons lost in the semifinals of the playoffs.

    The tides turned as Cignetti made the team so successful that they made the move to FBS and joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2022. Last season, the team went 8-3 with a 6-2 conference record, finishing tied for first in the East Division. Due to NCAA rules, the Dukes are not able to play in bowl games for the first two seasons in FBS so the team did not play in a bowl game.

    It has been quite the run for Cignetti as he has produced winning teams year after year. With the coaching staff he has put together, James Madison is poised to be a contender in the Sun Belt for years with even a chance to keep moving up to bigger, more prominent conferences.

    Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach, Mike Shanahan

    Mike Shanahan has been with the James Madison program since December of 2018 when Cignetti brought him on his staff to coach the wide receivers. Before the 2021 season, Shanahan was promoted to offensive coordinator. His offensive unit in 2022 was ranked sixth in the nation in time of possession (33:44), seventh in yards per completion (14.54), 13th in scoring (37 points per game), and 29th in total offense (452.5 yards per game).

    He was also with Cignetti at Elon in 2017 and 2018 where he coached the wide receivers and was recruiting coordinator. At Elon, he helped receiver Kortez Weeks earn Third-Team All-CAA and Freshman All-American honors in 2017. In the 2018 season, receiver Cole Taylor was fifth in the CAA in yards per catch with 16.9.

    Similar results for Shanahan before Elon as he was with Cignetti in IUP for just one season in 2016 where he had one receiver, Walt Pegues, finish the season on the Second-Team All-PSAC team after he averaged 94.1 yards per game which was 11th in all of Division II.

    Shanahan’s coaching career began with Pittsburgh starting as a volunteer assistant in 2014 and then graduate assistant in 2015. He helped with the development of NFL receiver Tyler Boyd as he was First-Team All-ACC honors in 2015.

    • Pittsburgh (Volunteer Assistant, 2014)
    • Pittsburgh (Graduate Assistant, 2015)
    • IUP (Wide Receivers Coach, 2016)
    • Elon (Wide Receivers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, 2017-2018)
    • James Madison (Wide Receivers Coach, 2019-2021)

    Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach, Bryant Haines

    A model of success with the defense has been because defensive coordinator Bryant Haines has produced multiple successful defenses. In his four seasons at James Madison, Haines’ defense has ranked in the top ten in total defense. His unit was also top ten in scoring defense in the FCS and ranked in the top 25 last season in the FBS. Seven of his defensive players were named as All-Sun Belt selections in 2022.

    Before joining James Madison, he was with Cignetti at Elon where he coached their linebackers for two seasons. He coached two linebackers to All-CAA selections during the 2018 season. One other time he was with Cignetti was at IUP for two seasons coaching their defensive line.

    His other stops include coaching linebackers at UC Davis in 2016 and helping with linebackers at Ohio State in 2013 where the team went undefeated in the regular season. He also coached at Indiana, Adrian College, and Manchester College.

    • Manchester College (Assistant Coach, 2009)
    • Adrian College (Assistant Coach, 2010-2011)
    • Indiana (Assistant Coach, 2012)
    • Ohio State (Assistant Coach, 2013)
    • IUP (Defensive Line Coach, 2014-2015)
    • UC Davis (Linebackers Coach, 2016)
    • Elon (Linebackers Coach, 2017-2018)

    Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach/Assistant Head Coach, Grant Cain

    Grant Cain holds multiple positions for James Madison moving up in the ranks of the coaching staff fast since joining the school in 2019. After the 2021 season, he was promoted to assistant head coach after just being the special team coordinator and tight ends coach. In 2022, Cain had two players with postseason honors tight end Drew Painter and punter Sam Clark. His special team units have always ranked high in performance.

    Before James Madison, Cain coached special teams and inside linebackers at Mercer for six seasons. His special teams unit was ranked first in the country in net punting (40.58 yards per punt). He was also able to help the team be top ten in kick return defense and punt return average in 2017.

    Coastal Carolina was his first big stop in his coaching career coaching multiple positions including outside linebackers. He helped the school win three conference championships during his time with the program.

    • Coastal Carolina (Assistant Coach/Outside Linebackers Coach, 2005-2012)
    • Mercer (Special Teams Coordinator/Inside Linebackers Coach, 2013-2018)

    Safeties Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Marcus Hall-Oliver

    Marcus-Hall-Oliver joined the school starting with the 2021 season where he first coached defensive tackles. Last season, he moved to coaching safeties and recruiting coordinator for James Madison. Hall-Oliver helped the defense be among one of the top 25 defenses over the last two seasons. He has previously coached at Indiana, the University of Sioux Falls, Eastern Michigan, and Minnesota State.

    Rovers Coach, Eddie Whitley Jr.

    Eddie Whitley Jr. joined James Madison starting in the spring of 2020-2021 season where he coached the safeties that season. Last year, he changed positions to coach the rovers. The unit also played a role in the defense being among the best in the nation. He has previously coached at Bridgewater College with the secondary.

    Running Backs Coach, John Miller

    John Miller has been with James Madison since the 2021 season coaching the running backs after playing for the school from 2014 until 2017. His running backs were ranked 37th in the country in rushing yards last season, with 186.7 yards per game. Miller was previously coaching at Texas and ECU, working with the offensive positions including wide receivers and tight ends.

    Offensive Line/Associate Head Coach of Offense, Damian Wroblewski

    Damian Wroblewski has been with the Dukes program since the 2019 season starting as an offensive line coach and assistant head coach. Wroblewski was eventually promoted to associate head coach of offense before the 2021 football season. He has helped coach four All-Americans and seven all-conference linemen in his four seasons. Wroblewski also coached offensive lines at Elon, Rutgers, Delaware, Stony Brook, Hofstra, Penn, and Bryant.

    Quarterbacks Coach/Pass Game Coordinator, Tino Sunseri

    Starting as a quarterback coach in 2021, Tino Sunseri added the title of pass game coordinator after the 2021 season ended. Sunseri’s quarterbacks in a short time have set school records and been among the top 30 passing attacks in the nation. His previous stops include Alabama and Florida State working on their offensive staff.

    Defensive Line Coach, Pat Kuntz

    Last season was Pat Kuntz’s first year with the program coaching their defensive line. Three of his defensive linemen were named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team for their performances. Kuntz also has coached at VMI and Indiana coaching their defensive lines.

    Cornerbacks Coach, Jarred Holley

    2023 is the first season for cornerbacks coach Jarred Holley. The last two seasons saw Holley coaching the cornerbacks at North Texas with two players reaching all-conference honors. He also coached at Albany and Arizona State dating back to 2015.

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