With the “climb” quickly falling apart in Morgantown, many expect the Mountaineers to move on from Neal Brown following the 2022 season. Once the decision becomes final, the quest to find his successor will commence.
While many will be throwing around the big names, there will be names at the Group of Five level worth a look. Brown came from the Group of Five ranks, yes, but he didn’t come with as much experience as many of those around him.
Hugh Freeze and Shawn Clark will be among the top names mentioned for the job. However, there is one coach that just keeps getting overlooked and neglected of any consideration.
Curt Cignetti – Head Coach of the James Madison Dukes
— The Voice of Morgantown (@voicemorgantown) November 1, 2022
His father, Frank Cignetti Sr., spent four seasons as WVU’s head coach (1976-1979). Though he did not have the most successful tenure with the Mountaineers, accumulating a 17-27 record, his time spent in Morgantown gave the Cignetti family a taste of what to expect. Curt also spent some time at WVU himself, playing in 1989 and 1990 as a quarterback.
With so many ties to Morgantown, this could intrigue Cignetti to at least consider the offer should it come his way.
Though the West Virginia affiliation could be enough to sell him for some fans, many will be curious of the career that he has left behind him elsewhere.
To say he has been successful would be an understatement.
Here are the stats and appearances that Cignetti has gathered during his coaching career:
–105-33 record (38-7 at JMU, 14-9 at Elon, 53-17 at IUP)
-Playoff appearances in 8 of his 11 seasons in the FCS
-National Championship (FCS) appearance with James Madison in 2019 (Lost to North Dakota State, 28-20)
-Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year (2017)
-Four years spent at Alabama under Nick Saban (Wide Receivers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator)
–Six Conference Championships
–Cracked Top 25 with JMU in first season in FBS
Having quite the track record behind him, there is simply no reason that Lyons and WVU shouldn’t at least give him a look. He’s seasoned, he’s successful, he’s learned under Nick Saban, and he wins. With an upgrade of resources in Morgantown, he would certainly have the tools to make a winner.
Honestly, Cignetti should be considered one of the top targets, should WVU move on from Brown. I have no doubt that Cignetti would at least entertain a phone call from the Mountaineers. He could be just the type of coach that the Mountaineers need to turn this around.