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IUP Trustees Approve Resolution to Name Football Field in Honor of Frank Cignetti

At a meeting on Friday, September 27, 2013, IUP Council of Trustees honored the career accomplishments of longtime football coach Frank Cignetti Sr. by designating the field located within George P. Miller Stadium as Frank Cignetti Field.

“The trustees are pleased to have been given this opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of Frank Cignetti,” Council of Trustees chairperson Susan Delaney said. “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.”

Ceremonies to recognize the naming of the field in Cignetti’s honor will take place during the Homecoming football game on Saturday, October 5, 2013.

In the resolution, the trustees recognized that Cignetti’s successes have brought national recognition to IUP and that he “provided outstanding service to IUP by serving as a positive force in the lives of many student-athletes.”

The resolution also stated, “With the financial support of alumni and friends who wish to honor this legendary coach, the most appropriate place of recognition and honor is the athletic field on which Mr. Cignetti coached teams that achieved 15 postseason victories, won 10 Lambert/Meadowlands Cups, and made two NCAA Division II championship game appearances.”

President Driscoll also praised Cignetti’s impact on the university and its students.

“Coach Cignetti used his incredible success at IUP to elevate the overall reputation and visibility of IUP regionally and nationally,” Driscoll said. “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.”

Cignetti served as athletic director at IUP from 1982 to 1998 and as head football coach from 1986 to 2006. He holds the record at IUP for the most wins as a football coach, with a record of 182-50-1, a winning percentage of 78.3.

In August, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. He also was honored earlier this year with induction into the 2013 Division II Hall of Fame. Cignetti was named the PSAC West Coach of the Year five times and the Kodak College Division Regional Coach of the Year three times. He won Chevrolet Division II National Coach of the Year honors in 1991.

During his 20-year career at IUP, Cignetti led the team to conference titles in his first two seasons in 1986 and 1987 and subsequent Division II national title game appearances in 1990 and 1993.

He took IUP to 13 Division II playoff appearances, including six trips to the national semifinals, and he led IUP to at least a co-share of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division title 14 times.

While he was coach, IUP ranked in the NCAA Division II Top 20 each season from 1986 to 2004, achieving undefeated regular seasons in 1991 and 1993. Cignetti coached 11 first team All-Americans and 124 first team All-PSAC performers. 

He is a former NAIA All-American who played end at Indiana State Teachers College, now IUP, from 1956 to 1959. He was an inaugural member of IUP’s athletics hall of fame in 1996. Cignetti earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from IUP, in 1960 and 1965, respectively.