[Roundup] IU Football Lands Coach Cig ... Now It's Time to "Back the Rock"
Here is a quick roundup of content you may be interested in related to Indiana's new head football coach, Curt Cignetti. Plus: details of Hoosiers Connect's "Back the Rock" campaign.
As you may heard, Indiana has its new head football coach.
Football Scoop gave its stamp of approval, referring to it as a “home run” for Indiana.
Here is the welcome message “Coach Cig” posted earlier today on the IU football Twitter account.
Cignetti also put this statement out, which Nicole Auerbach tweeted:
Note the line in the middle:
“ … sometimes you have to make hard decisions and get uncomfortable again to grow, and I’m too young to stop growing.”
Love that! A great lesson for us all, no matter our age.
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There is already a bunch of interesting content out there related to the hire, so I decided to compile it all here in this post.
Let’s start with the most important thing: how we can all help Coach Cig and IU football be successful.
How to “Back the Rock” in support of IU football
As you may have seen, our friends at Hoosiers Connect are already out front in galvanizing major support for IU football.
In addition to the $3 million baseline HC has already pledged to IU football, they are launching a “Back the Rock” campaign to capitalize on fan excitement and help make the NIL war chest even more robust.
Learn more and donate here:
Below is the release HC sent out earlier today.
Note the section about the donor match. It means everything we contribute as fans is still getting doubled automatically. What a great time to participate.
Bloomington, Ind. – Hoosiers Connect, the Official NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) Collective of IU Athletics, is excited to announce a new ‘Back the Rock’ fundraising campaign following the recent announcement of Coach Cignetti as Indiana University Football new head coach. Hoosiers Connect is committed to supporting Coach Cignetti with NIL resources as he takes on his new role and the launch of the ‘Back the Rock’ campaign is the first of many steps to mark this commitment.
“We are excited to welcome Coach Cignetti to the Hoosier family and can’t wait to pack the rock with him and the Hoosiers next season,” said Tyler Harris, Executive Director of Hoosiers Connect. “Hoosiers Connect is committed to ensuring that IU’s Football program has the NIL opportunities it needs to be successful.”
Hoosiers Connect gives donors the option to specify which of IU’s 24 Division I sports their donation impacts. The ‘Back the Rock’ campaign will focus on soliciting donations specifically earmarked to IU’s Football program. This campaign comes on the heels of Hoosiers Connect’s launch of ‘In for Indiana’ and successful day of giving on November 14 which resulted in nearly $500,000 raised in 24 hours.
On November 14, Hoosiers Connect also announced an anonymous donor’s pledge to match $1 million in funds for all donations made to Hoosiers Connect and Hoosiers For Good through the end of the year. Donations made during the ‘Back the Rock’ campaign will be included in the matching funds committed on November 14.
“A successful and robust NIL program is essential for the success for all athletic programs at IU, including IU Football,” said Harris. “We hope this new campaign will show a widespread outpouring of support for Coach Cignetti and our Football athletes.”
For more information about the ‘Back the Rock’ campaign and to donate, visit inforindiana.com.
Now let’s get to some of the reaction coming in about this hire.
What we’re saying about the hire
The Back Home Network has already put out a couple of pieces related to the hire.
Earlier today, before the hire was even official, I offered my thoughts on Cignetti as IU’s coach.
The post also includes some media appearances by Cignetti that I highly recommend you watch, plus a poll so you can see how other IU fans feel, and a subscriber-only comment section for discussion.
Are there concerns about his lack of head coaching experience at the Power 5 level and how he’ll adapt to recruiting with higher NIL stakes and a new geographic location than he’s used to? Sure.
But ultimately, I can’t help but be legitimately excited about this hire.
But in the absence of that kind of experience, Cignetti seems to have everything else you’d want in a coach for Indiana. I’m finding it hard to poke holes in his candidacy and not get viscerally excited to see what he could do at IU.
Our friends atstruck a similar chord in their emergency pod today.
Also, I want to address the fact that Coach Cig will be coaching James Madison in its bowl game. Michael Niziolek wrote about it here for The Herald Times.
It’s absolutely fine.
Sure, in an ideal world, you’d love to have him hit the ground running 100% focused on IU football.
But it will likely only be a couple of weeks until their bowl game (details here for how that convoluted selection process will go), and I think it’s meaningful that we hired the type of person who wants to finish what he started with his team.
Maybe that goodwill helps him bring valued assistants.
Maybe it helps him bring talented transfers who are good enough to play in the Big Ten.
Maybe it becomes a compelling story he can tell parents on the recruiting trail.
Maybe it just helps him leave with a clean conscience so he can be 100% enthusiastic and focused on IU once it’s time.
If the tables were turned, we’d want him to finish the job here at IU (like Kalen DeBoer did before going to Fresno State). So I just don’t think this is worth worrying about at all.
If you believe he’s the right guy, then a short-term concern doesn’t outweigh the long-term benefits of getting that guy.
Also, Taylor Lehman wrote about the hire for his newsletter Bite-Sized Bison. (And no, he’s not officially a part of the Back Home Network, but he may as well be!)
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Coach is back in on IU football! ;-)
What are others saying about the hire
Now let’s turn our attention to what some of our other friends and national pundits are saying about Coach Cig.
We’ll start with Zach Osterman, who did a great job this week keeping IU fans up-to-date on the coaching search.
Here is his latest video, which features an absolutely splendid thumbnail image:
Zach also wrote this:
Everything about Cignetti’s career to this point suggests he’ll relish the chance to build a winner in Bloomington now as well.
That’s the bonus Dolson added. He got his timeline, his profile and, eventually, his top target. Paul Chryst and Jason Candle were also in the mix at the end, but Cignetti was Dolson’s top choice, and ultimately his last one.
And Gregg Doyel wrote for The Star about how IU actually beat out other compelling options for Cignetti … which isn’t something that happens very often.
Because he had options. Syracuse was open for a minute. Duke is open now. Google those schools and the words “candidate” and “Cignetti.” Read what writers who cover those schools — albeit none as well as our Zach Osterman has been all over this IU transition from Allen-to-Cignetti — were writing about Cignetti.
Here’s what you’ll find: Skepticism at Syracuse and Duke that they could lure Cignetti, the hottest remaining name on the board.
Since when has IU football landed the best coach available?
Never, is the word that comes to mind.
T.J. at Hoosier Huddle wrote about how Indiana is getting a proven winner in Coach Cig.
In total, Curt Cignetti is 119-35 as a head coach. With the proper resources provided to him by Indiana University, something the Hoosiers appear to be ready to provide, this is an outstanding hire that has a chance to change the course of Indiana University football.
From a national perspective, the response has been positive. I mentioned above that Football Scoop referred to it as a home run.
ESPN gives the Hoosiers an A- for landing Cignetti.
Indiana hired a respected, veteran coach who won't flinch at some of the baked-in challenges the program faces, not having captured a conference title since 1967. Cignetti hasn't been at a Power 5 school since 2010, so there could be a bit of an adjustment period, but his knack for evaluating talent and establishing a strong identity is clear. If given enough resources, Cignetti will be able to upgrade the team's talent level and performance.
Other sentiments include this one from Jacob Davis, who covers Arkansas football but nonetheless chimed in on the hire: “If anyone can win at #Indiana it will be Curt Cignetti. He leaves #JMU after a perfect season in the Sun Belt, The Dukes first season in the FBS.”
NFL Draft analyst Joe DeLeone said: “Played against Curt Cignetti multiple times when he was at Elon and JMU Indiana is getting an extremely underrated coach who will turn that program into a winner.”
Here is another one from The Tailgate Tent:
I’ll add to this as I find additional articles. Please use the comment section to drop links to any other pieces you find interesting.