Frank Cignetti Sr.

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Frank Cignetti Sr.
Biographical details
Born(1937-10-08)October 8, 1937
Apollo, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedSeptember 10, 2022(2022-09-10) (aged 84)
Playing career
1957–1959IUP
Position(s)End
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1960–1961Leechburg HS (PA) (assistant)
1962–1965Leechburg HS (PA)
1966–1968Pittsburgh (assistant)
1969Princeton (assistant)
1970–1975West Virginia (assistant)
1976–1979West Virginia
1986–2005IUP
Head coaching record
Overall199–77–1 (college)
32–9 (high school)
Tournaments15–13 (NCAA D-II playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
2 PSAC (1986–1987)
14 PSAC Western Division (1986–1988, 1990–1994, 1996, 2000–2004)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2013 (profile)

Frank Cignetti Sr. (October 8, 1937 – September 10, 2022) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at West Virginia University from 1976 to 1979 and at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), compiling a career college football record of 199–77–1. Cignetti led the IUP Indians[a] to the title game of the NCAA Division II Football Championship in 1990 and 1993. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2013.

Early life and education[edit]

Cignetti was born on October 8, 1937.[2] He attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and played college football and college basketball for the IUP Indians. As an end on the football team, Cignetti was a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American.[3]

Cignetti graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1960. He earned a master's degree from IUP in 1965.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

Cignetti's first coaching position was as an assistant for Leechburg High School's football team. He became Leechburg's head coach and coached them to the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class 1A championship in 1965. From 1966 to 1968, he was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Panthers, where he coached their quarterbacks and wide receivers.[5] He served as an offensive assistant for the Princeton Tigers in 1969[6] and joined Bobby Bowden's coaching staff for the West Virginia Mountaineers, coaching the offensive backfield.[7]

Cignetti succeeded Bowden as the Mountaineers' head coach in 1976 and coached them through the 1979 season.[5] Though the team had won the 1975 Peach Bowl, 32 of its players were seniors, and Cignetti had to rebuild the program. He had a 17–27 (.386) record as West Virginia's head coach.[8] In 1979, Cignetti was diagnosed with lymphomatoid granulomatosis, a form of cancer.[9][10] He had a splenectomy and spent 35 days in the hospital.[11] Cignetti was fired after the 1979 season, but recovered from cancer.[12]

In 1982, Cignetti returned to IUP as the director of athletics. He became the head coach of IUP's football team in 1986.[4] He coached IUP to a 182–50–1 (.783) record from 1986 to 2005.[5] Under Cignetti, IUP won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division 14 times and did not have a losing season. IUP appeared in NCAA Division II's semifinals five times and in the championship game twice.[3] In 1991, he was the Division II coach of the year.[5] His team won 10 Lambert Cups, as the best Division II team in the eastern United States.[13]

Cignetti was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.[14] Also in that year, IUP renamed its football field in honor of Cignetti.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Cignetti and his wife, Marlene, had four children.[12] Frank Jr. played football for his father at IUP from 1985 to 1987. Cignetti Jr. is a former offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams. His son Curt was announced as the head coach for IUP on January 21, 2011, after serving four years as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Alabama.[16] Curt served as the head coach at Elon University from 2016 to 2018, and in December 2018 was named the eighth head coach of James Madison University.[17]

Cignetti died on September 10, 2022.[18][2]

Head coaching record[edit]

Sources[19][20]
Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Rank# AFCA°
West Virginia Mountaineers (NCAA Division I / I-A independent) (1976–1979)
1976 West Virginia 5–6
1977 West Virginia 5–6
1978 West Virginia 2–9
1979 West Virginia 5–6
West Virginia: 17–27
IUP Indians (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) (1986–2005)
1986 IUP 9–2 6–0 1st (West) 14
1987 IUP 10–2 6–0 1st (West) L NCAA Division II First Round 6
1988 IUP 8–3 5–1 T–1st (West) L NCAA Division II First Round 14
1989 IUP 11–2 5–1 2nd (West) L NCAA Division II Semifinal 9
1990 IUP 12–2 6–0 1st (West) L NCAA Division II Championship 4
1991 IUP 12–1 6–0 1st (West) L NCAA Division II Semifinal 1
1992 IUP 8–1–1 5–0–1 1st (West) 12
1993 IUP 13–1 6–0 1st (West) L NCAA Division II Championship 4
1994 IUP 10–3 6–0 1st (West) L NCAA Division II Semifinal 8
1995 IUP 8–3 5–1 2nd (West) 19
1996 IUP 8–3 5–1 T–1st (West) L NCAA Division II First Round 10
1997 IUP 5–5 4–2 T–2nd (West)
1998 IUP 10–2 5–1 2nd (West) L NCAA Division II First Round 8
1999 IUP 9–4 5–1 2nd (West) L NCAA Division II Semifinal
2000 IUP 8–3 5–1 T–1st (West) L NCAA Division II First Round 15 12
2001 IUP 8–2 6–0 1st (West) L NCAA Division II First Round 8 8
2002 IUP 11–2 6–0 1st (West) L NCAA Division II Quarterfinal 6 8
2003 IUP 10–2 5–1 T–1st (West) 6 9
2004 IUP 7–3 5–1 T–1st (West)
2005 IUP 5–5 4–2 T–3rd (West)
IUP: 182–50–1 106–13–1
Total: 199–77–1
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ IUP changed its team nickname from "Indians" to "Crimson Hawks" in 2006.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reeger, Jennifer (December 16, 2006). "IUP changes nickname to Crimson Hawks". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved September 11, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Burglund, Matt (September 10, 2022). "IUP mourns passing of Hall of Fame Coach Frank Cignetti Sr". Indiana University of Pennsylvania Athletics. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Cignetti retiring after 20 years at IUP | TribLIVE.com". Archive.triblive.com. November 3, 2005. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Burglund, Matthew. "Cignetti's legacy remains strong at IUP". The Indiana Gazette. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d "College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Cignetti Sr. dies at 84". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  6. ^ "Leechburg's Cignetti Joins Princeton Staff". Newspapers.com. February 6, 1969. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  7. ^ "West Virginia Adds 2 Aides". Newspapers.com. January 21, 1970. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  8. ^ Hertzel, Bob. "The legacy of Coach Frank Cignetti Sr". Times West Virginian.
  9. ^ "17 Aug 1979, Page 25 – The Philadelphia Inquirer at". Newspapers.com. August 17, 1979. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  10. ^ "16 Sep 1979, 20 – The Baltimore Sun at". Newspapers.com. September 16, 1979. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  11. ^ "Cignetti Finds Winning Isn't Everything". The Washington Post. July 31, 1979. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Frank Cignetti: Former WVU Coach Lost Job He Loves, Won Bigger Battle". The Washington Post. September 25, 1980. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  13. ^ "IUP's Frank Cignetti Selected to Division II Football Hall of Fame". Indiana University of Pennsylvania Athletics.
  14. ^ "Frank Cignetti Sr. to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame | TribLIVE.com". Archive.triblive.com. May 30, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  15. ^ "IUP to Name Football Field in Honor of Frank Cignetti, Sr". Indiana University of Pennsylvania Athletics.
  16. ^ Deas, Tommy (January 21, 2011). "Cignetti to be named IUP coach". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  17. ^ "What JMU's Curt Cignetti learned from Alabama football coach Nick Saban". Tuscaloosanews.com. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  18. ^ "Hall of fame college football coach Frank Cignetti Sr. dies at 84". Cbsnews.com. January 11, 1949. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  19. ^ "Frank Cignetti Coaching Record". College Football at Sports-Reference.com.
  20. ^ "FB Record Book 2 (PDF)" (PDF). Indiana University of Pennsylvania Athletics.

External links[edit]