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Why Curt Cignetti felt taking over the IU football program was the right job for him

One-on-one with IU’s new head football coach

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — It’s been a busy week for new Indiana University head football coach Curt Cignetti.

He was announced as the program’s 30th head coach on Thursday. He was then officially introduced during a press conference the next afternoon.

After the introductory press conference, News 8 spoke one-on-one with Cignetti.

“This was the right job for me because number one, it’s probably the best conference (Big Ten) in America right now,” Cignetti told News 8. “The Big Ten with the TV deal and everything that’s going on with the Big Ten. Number two, it was an exciting challenge given the lack of success lately. I felt strongly I had a blueprint and a plan that had proven to be successful in this type of situation.”

Cignetti leaves James Madison University after spending five seasons as the Dukes’ head coach. He called that a “very special” job.

“Sometimes in life you have to make a difficult decision,” Cignetti said. “Be uncomfortable because that’s the only time you grow. And I’m too young to stop growing.”

Cignetti replaces Tom Allen, who was fired after serving as IU head football coach for the last seven seasons. This past year, IU finished with a 3-9 overall record.

“You got to change the way people think everywhere, in the building, outside, the players,” Cignetti said. “And you got to do the things daily to develop to be the best you can be.”

Cignetti met with IU football players for the first time last Friday, hours before his introductory press conference.

“The current roster, I’m anxious to get to know,” Cignetti said. “And help develop them to achieve the goals that they desire.”

During their conversation, Chernoff asked Cignetti what a “Curt Cignetti-led IU football team” will look like.

“If it looks like all the other teams I’ve coached, the teams that had winning traditions going in and teams that had abysmal records going in, they’re going to see a team that really plays really hard, really smart, really disciplined,” Cignetti said.

Cignetti led James Madison to an 11-1 record this season, helping him earn Sun Belt Coach of the Year honors. The No. 24 Dukes will face Air Force in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 23.

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