ELON, N.C. – By finishing fourth, first-year football head coach Curt Cignetti earned the highest finish ever by an Elon University coach in the voting for the Eddie Robinson Award, which is presented to the FCS Coach of the Year, as announced by STATS FCS on Wednesday, December 13.
Cignetti is just the second Elon head coach to finish in the top 25 of the Robinson voting, joining Pete Lembo who finished sixth in 2007 and eighth in 2009. Cignetti earned 222 total points and 11 first place votes.
Cignetti guided a tremendous turnaround for the Phoenix program. Under his leadership, the maroon and gold posted a six-win improvement over the 2016 campaign as the Phoenix concluded the season with an 8-4 overall record. After being picked to finish 11th in the 12-team CAA Football league, Elon placed third with a 6-2 conference record as Cignetti earned CAA Football Coach of the Year honors. The squad earned its second berth to the FCS Playoffs. Cignetti’s eight wins mark the second highest total by a first-year Elon football coach.
The 2017 Elon team featured six all-conference players and the CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Phoenix defeated four ranked opponents and made its first appearance in the national polls since the 2010 campaign. The team won eight straight games during the season, the fourth longest such streak within a season in the history of the program.