|James Madison Dukes football|
|Head coach||Curt Cignetti|
|NCAA division||Division I FCS|
|Conference||Colonial Athletic Association|
|All-time record||294–210–4 (.583)|
|Claimed nat'l titles||2 (2004, 2016)|
|Conference titles||7 (1975, 1999, 2004, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017)|
William & Mary Tribe
Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
|Colors||Purple and Gold|
|Fight song||"JMU Fight Song"|
|Marching band||Marching Royal Dukes|
The James Madison Dukes football team, founded in 1972, plays at Bridgeforth Stadium and was previously coached by Mike Houston. The JMU football team was rarely the centerpiece of JMU sports until the hiring of prior coach, Mickey Matthews, in 1999.
Notable Dukes include Charles Haley, one of two players to win five Super Bowl rings and is also an inductee of the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame; Scott Norwood, the Buffalo Bills' all-time leading scorer; Gary Clark, an All-Pro wide receiver for the Washington Redskins; and Arthur Moats, a linebacker for the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers who is known for delivering the sack that led to the end of the record streak of consecutive starts made by Brett Favre in the NFL.
- 1 History
- 2 Current coaching staff
- 3 Conference affiliations
- 4 Rivalries
- 5 Championships
- 6 Playoffs
- 7 Head coaches
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Just five years after (then) Madison College had become a coeducational institution, the Dukes fielded their first football team. Football was the brainchild of Dr. Ronald Carrier, Madison's president at the time, who was attempting to change the psychology of the campus away from an all-women's teachers college. The first game took place on October 7, 1972 against Shepherd College's junior varsity team at Harrisonburg High School. The team consisted of a few dozen walk-ons and was coached by 30-year-old Challace McMillin.
In 1975, the Dukes had their first undefeated season and won the Virginia College Athletic Association title. Two players, Madison Hall of Fame quarterback Les Branich and offensive guard Jeff Adams, played on both the Dukes' only winless season in 1972 and its only undefeated season in 1975.
For the 1980 season, Madison made the jump from NCAA Division III to NCAA Division I-AA where they played as an Independent through 1992. After twelve seasons the Dukes would join the Yankee Conference, which would become the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1997, then finally the Colonial Athletic Association in 2007.
Mickey Matthews era
The Dukes made the NCAA playoffs in former head coach Mickey Matthews' first year with the team and in 2004, the Dukes won the Division I-AA (now FCS) National Championship behind quarterback Justin Rascati and running back Raymond Hines. They were the first and only team to win three games on the road to advance to the National Championship Game. They returned to the playoffs in 2006 but suffered an early exit to the hands of Youngstown State University. The Dukes went to the playoffs again in 2007, traveling to Appalachian State in the first round. While down 27–28, JMU lost the game with a fumble on the ASU 8-yard line in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. In 2008, they posted a 10–1 season record (the lone loss coming in the season opener to FBS team Duke) and received the top seed in the playoffs behind sensational quarterback Rodney Landers. After defeating Wofford and Villanova (for the second time that season), they were defeated by the Montana Grizzlies in the semi-final round after Landers went down with an ankle injury.
A $62 million stadium expansion to Bridgeforth was completed in 2011, adding an upper deck, club seating and 17 private suites. Bridgeforth's official seating capacity is approximately 24,877, and is designed so it may be expanded to seat over 40,000.
At the end of the 2013 season, after going 6–6 and missing the FCS playoff for the fourth time in five years, Mickey Matthews was let go as the head football coach after 15 seasons at the helm for the JMU Dukes.
Everett Withers era
On December 21, 2013, Everett Withers, assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State was named as the sixth head coach in the program's history by athletic director, Jeff Bourne. Prior to his work at Ohio State, Withers was interim head coach for North Carolina during the 2011 season after the dismissal of Butch Davis. His first win as interim head coach at North Carolina was against the Mickey Matthews led James Madison Dukes on September 3, 2011. While at JMU Withers compiled a 19-7 overall mark while making playoff appearances in both of his years in Harrisonburg. He also helped JMU receive national attention when ESPN's College GameDay show traveled to Harrisonburg to feature the 2015 Dukes.
Mike Houston era
On January 18, 2016 James Madison University named Mike Houston as head coach of the Dukes football program. Houston was formerly head coach of the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears (2011–13) and Citadel Bulldogs (2014-15). Houston was very successful at Lenoir-Rhyne claiming three conference championships and an appearance in the NCAA Division II Football National Championship. At The Citadel, Houston led the Bulldogs to their first SoCon conference championship since 1992. In 2016 Houston defeated 4 FCS top 25 teams on the road as he led the Dukes to the 2016 Colonial Athletic Association football title with a 20–7 win over Villanova University gaining the University's first ever back to back titles. In the 2016 FCS playoff second round, he and the Dukes defeated the University of New Hampshire 55–22. The Dukes then went on to defeat Sam Houston State 65–7 in the NCAA FCS Quarterfinals. In the Semifinals, Mike Houston's Dukes defeated the five-time NCAA Division I FCS champions the North Dakota State University Bison 27–17, giving them the opportunity to face Youngstown State in the National Title Game on January 7, 2017 in Frisco, Texas. JMU won the National Championship in decisive fashion, with a score of 28–14 (Youngstown State scored a meaningless touchdown with seconds left in the game) on a cold, 15°F afternoon in Frisco, Texas
On January 7, 2017 JMU faced the Youngstown State Penguins football for the 2016 FCS National Championship at Toyota Stadium (Texas) in Frisco, Texas. JMU got off to a fast start leading Youngstown 21-0 by the middle of the second quarter. JMU QB Bryan Schor had two quick passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown by JMU RB Khalid Abdullah got the game started quickly for the Dukes. Youngstown State battled back to score just before halftime to make it a 21-7 game at the half. JMU added another touchdown early in the third quarter extending their lead to 28-7. Youngstown State added a touchdown late in the 4th quarter but the game had already been decided. JMU finished off the game winning their second national championship by a final score of 28-14. JMU QB Bryan Schor threw for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns, JMU RB Khalid Abdullah rushed for over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns and JMU DB Jordan Brown finished with 7 tackles to lead the JMU defensive effort.
The Dukes started their title defense season on September 2, 2017 with a dominating win against Division 1 FBS members East Carolina, winning by a score of 34-14 to claim a victory over a team from college football's highest division for the second time in three seasons. The Dukes went on to finish with a perfect regular season record, including an 8-0 record in the Colonial Athletic Association- becoming the first team since 1977 to go undefeated in back-to-back CAA campaigns On Sunday November 19, JMU was awarded the #1 seed in the 2017 FCS Playoffs by the Selection Committee. After a First Round Bye, JMU faced the Stony Brook Seawolves in the FCS Second Round, winning by a score of 26-7. In the FCS Quarterfinals, the Dukes faced Big Sky member Weber State. Trailing late in the 4th quarter, JMU eventually won the game on a last second field goal, advancing to the FCS Semifinals to face South Dakota State, from the Missouri Valley Football Conference. In this game, the Dukes, bolstered by 10 takeaways on defense, cruised to an easy 51-16 victory, and earned a return trip to Frisco, TX to defend their 2016 National Championship. In the Title game, the Dukes were plagued by dropped passes and uncharacteristic turnovers, and fell to the North Dakota State Bison by a score of 17-13.
In 2017, JMU set program and CAA record winning streaks. Before falling to North Dakota State, the Dukes won their previous 26 games, dating back to the 2016 season, the 2nd longest winning streak in FCS history (NDSU- 33 games).
On Tuesday December 12, James Madison University announced Mike Houston had signed a 10 year contract extension to keep him at the school through the 2027 season.
Current coaching staff
|Name||Position||Year Joined||Alma mater|
|Curt Cignetti||Head Coach|
|Roy Tesh||Outside Linebackers/Special Teams Coordinator||2017||Greensboro College (2004)|
|Corico Wright||Cornerbacks||2018||Clemson (2012)|
|De'Rail Sims||Running Backs||2016||Pikeville (2010)|
|Drew Dudzik||Outside Receivers||2016||James Madison (2010)|
|Fontel Mines||Inside Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator||2017||Virginia (2007)|
|Dale Steele||Director of Football Administration||2016||South Carolina (1976)|
- 1972–1973: Independent
- 1974–1975: Virginia Collegiate Athletic Association (VCAA)
- 1976: NCAA Division II Independent
- 1977–1979: NCAA Division III Independent
- 1980–1992: NCAA Division I-AA Independent
- 1993–1996: Yankee Conference
- 1997–2006: Atlantic 10 Conference
- 2007–present: Colonial Athletic Association
All-time record vs. CAA Conference
|William & Mary||23–17|
William & Mary
|2004||Mickey Matthews||13–2||NCAA Division I-AA National Champions|
|2016||Mike Houston||14–1||NCAA Division FCS National Champions|
|Total national championships||2|
|1975||Challace McMillin||Virginia Collegiate Athletic Association (VCAA)|
|1999||Mickey Matthews||Atlantic 10 Conference||7–2|
|2004||Mickey Matthews||Atlantic 10 Conference||7–1|
|2008||Mickey Matthews||Colonial Athletic Association||8–0|
|2015||Everett Withers||Colonial Athletic Association||6–2|
|2016||Mike Houston||Colonial Athletic Association||8–0|
|2017||Mike Houston||Colonial Athletic Association||8–0|
|Total conference championships||7|
The Dukes have appeared in the Division I-AA/FCS Playoffs 15 times, most recently in 2018. Their combined record is 17–13. They were Division I-AA/FCS National Champions in 2004 and 2016.
|1987||First Round||Marshall||L 12–41|
|1995||First Round||Appalachian State||L 24–31|
|1999||First Round||Troy State||L 7–27|
National Championship Game
William & Mary
|2006||First Round||Youngstown State||L 31–35|
|2007||First Round||Appalachian State||L 27–28|
North Dakota State
|2014||First Round||Liberty||L 21–26|
|2015||Second Round||Colgate||L 38–44|
National Championship Game
Sam Houston State
North Dakota State
National Championship Game
South Dakota State
North Dakota State
- "JMU Logos and Marks". Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- "2011 College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinees". Archived from the original on 2012-07-13.
- "JMU – First Football Game". James Madison University. Retrieved 2011-07-20.
- "JMU – Undefeated Season". James Madison University. Retrieved 2011-07-24.
- "College Football Data Warehouse". Retrieved 2011-07-24.
- Thorpe's Game-Winning Drive Lifts #5 Football Over #12 Towson, 13–10
- Monday, November 25, 2013 9:56 am (2013-11-25). "JMU dismisses football coach Matthews – Richmond Times-Dispatch: College Football". Timesdispatch.com. Retrieved 2014-08-25.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- "James Madison hires Ohio State assistant Withers as head coach". FoxSports.com. Associated Press. December 21, 2013. Archived from the original on December 21, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
- "Everett Withers Named Carolina's Interim Head Football Coach". tarheelblue.com. 2011. Archived from the original on April 8, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
- "Renner's Record Setting Day Powers 42–10 Tar Heel Win". tarheelblue.com. 2011. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
- "JMU Names Mike Houston Head Football Coach". James Madison Athletics. 2016. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- "NATIONAL CHAMPS! JMU Tops Youngstown State 28-14". Retrieved 2017-07-02.
- "James Madison shuts down Youngstown State to claim second national championship". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2017-07-02.