During his time at IUP, Frank Cignetti racked up more wins than any other football coach in school history.
His teams appeared in 13 postseason games, twice in the Division II championship. His teams consistently were ranked in the Top 20 polls.
And in August, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. But now he has another honor to boast of — a football field named in his honor.
IUP announced on Friday that in consideration of Cignetti’s many contributions to the football program and to the university, it has agreed to name the football field after him. The university’s trustees made the decision official by putting its stamp on a resolution to do so during a special meeting Friday afternoon.
So henceforth, the field will be formally known as Frank Cignetti Field at George P. Miller Stadium.
“The trustees are pleased to have been given this opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of Frank Cignetti,” said Susan Delaney, the trustees’ chairwoman, in a statement. “Throughout more than two decades at IUP, he devoted his time and effort to the support and development of hundreds of young student-athletes. Frank has served the university with distinction and has been recognized nationally as an exemplary coach. It is therefore appropriate that IUP chooses to honor his legacy in this way.”
The university plans to celebrate the field’s naming during the Oct. 5 homecoming game against Millersville University. Cignetti’s son, Curt, is now in his third season as head coach of IUP football.
Reached at home on Friday, Frank Cignetti declined comment, saying he wanted to wait until players past and present were around before he spoke about the honor.
“They’re as much responsible for this,” he said.
Cignetti, whose son, Curt, is in his third season as IUP’s head football coach, was the head coach from 1986 to 2005 and in that time compiled a 182-50-1 record. He also served as athletic director from 1982 to 1998.
He was honored by his peers several times, having been named the PSAC West Coach of the Year five times and Kodak College Division Regional Coach of the Year three times.
Prior to coming to IUP, Cignetti served as the West Virginia University Mountaineers offensive coordinator under Bobby Bowden. He took over the program as head coach from 1976 to 1979.
“Coach Cignetti used his incredible success at IUP to elevate the overall reputation and visibility of IUP regionally and nationally,” President Michael Driscoll said in a statement. “He has always been focused on the university, our student-athletes and the program, not his own personal victories. This is a very fitting recognition.”
In adopting the resolution naming the stadium, the trustees passed another that cements Miller, who was a mainstay of IUP athletics for nearly 40 years, as the stadium’s namesake. But they authorized the president to pursue other naming opportunities within the stadium, similar to how components within the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex are named after different people.
Driscoll said the decision to name the field after Cignetti grew out of groundswell of independent suggestions that the university do so following news that he was to be enshrined in the hall of fame.