Legendary coach Frank Cignetti Sr. dies at 84

ESPN reports that Frank Cignetti Sr., the legendary former coach of West Virginia University’s football team, has died at the age of 84.  

Cignetti’s death was announced on social media Saturday by his son Curt Cignetti, the head coach of James Madison University’s football team.

Cignetti’s other son, Frank Cignetti Jr., the offensive coordinator for Pittsburgh Panthers, also posted a tweet following his father’s passing, saying, “so Proud to be your son, player & assistant. You are my Hero, Love You So Much.”

No further information has been provided about Cignetti’s passing.

Remembering Cignetti

Cignetti coached at the University of West Virginia for a stint in the 1970s, from 1976 to 1979. He didn’t, however, have the greatest success there, only managing a record of 17 wins and 27 defeats.

He would have much greater success in Division II college football, coaching the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s (IUP) team.

There, Cignetti coached for some 20 years, earning a record of 182 wins, 50 defeats, and one tie. This made him, at the time of his retirement in 2005, the third most winning active coach in Division II college football.

Cignetti’s success would also earn him a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 2013.

Besides his coaching success, one also cannot overlook the number of coaches that Cignetti influenced in one way or another during his lifetime, including his two sons, who ended up following in their father’s footsteps.

IUP’s statement

IUP President Michael Driscoll responded to the news of Cignetti’s passing with a statement explaining how much he meant to the university.

Driscoll said:

Coach Cignetti meant so much to IUP, and I know IUP meant so much to Coach Cignetti. He always strove to help the university any way he could and served as an outstanding ambassador for IUP and its student-athletes. The number of lives he impacted is too great to count, but it’s easy to be seen by those who played for him, coached with him, or worked alongside him. We offer the Cignetti family our condolences and sincere gratitude for the way they all have always stayed close to IUP.

Reports indicate that IUP’s football team managed to score a victory on the day that Cignetti died.