JMU tabs Holy Cross’ Bob Chesney as head coach

James Madison named Holy Cross’ Bob Chesney as its new head coach on Thursday.

Chesney, 46, has coached the Crusaders since 2018 and guided them to four FCS postseason berths.

The three-time Patriot League Coach of the Year compiled a 44-21 record at Holy Cross, including 7-4 in 2023.

“Ideally, we wanted a proven head coach with a track record of winning football games, both with frequency and against tough competition,” James Madison athletic director Jeff Bourne said. “We sought someone who would lead our young men to maximize their potential in all facets of life, including their off-the-field pursuits and academic success. We prioritized someone with experience at managing all facets of a modern Division I football program and particularly with ties to the East Coast. We also desired someone who would connect with our staff, would resonate with our fan base and would relish the opportunity to be a JMU Duke.

“Bob Chesney checks all those boxes and more.”

The Crusaders went 11-0 in the regular season in 2022 and reached the FCS quarterfinals. They defeated FBS teams in 2021 (UConn) and 2022 (Buffalo) and fell by three points to both Boston College and Army this season.

“I’ve watched the JMU football program rise to one of the top in the FCS before then transitioning to the FBS level in truly unprecedented fashion,” Chesney said. “This program has such rich tradition, and the culture of the program expectations are firmly planted.”

Chesney replaces Curt Cignetti, who had guided the Dukes since 2019 before leaving to become the head coach at Indiana.

JMU (11-1) is slated to face Air Force in the Dec. 23 Armed Forces Bowl, with associate head coach and offensive line coach Damian Wroblewski as the acting head coach.

Chesney served as head coach at Division II Assumption (2013-17) and Division III Salve Regina (2010-12) before taking over at Holy Cross.