Former Saban assistant hired as Phoenix coach
Curt Cignetti has been named the new Elon head football coach. The assistant coach/recruiting coordinator on Nick Saban’s Alabama’s undefeated 2009 National Championship team, Cignetti spent the last six seasons as the head coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, amassing a career record of 53-17.
In six seasons at IUP, Cignetti led the Crimson Hawks to a 53-17 (.757) record, including a 33-11 (.750) mark in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. In 2011, Cignetti inherited a team that finished 4-10 against conference foes two years prior to his arrival. IUP made three NCAA Division II Playoff appearances in 2012, 2015 and 2016 and finished this past season ranked No. 12 in the nation. Cignetti helped the Crimson Hawks to a 4-3 record in postseason play, as well. It marked the first time IUP made back-to-back NCAA Playoff appearances since 2002-03.
Cignetti will be introduced to the Elon community and the media at a news conference at noon on Monday in the Walker Room of Elon’s Alumni Field House.
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UNC: Tar Heels cornerback M.J. Stewart announced Saturday he will return for his senior season in 2017. As a junior in 2016, he led the team with 11 pass breakups and finished sixth with 59 tackles. Stewart ranks third all-time at UNC with 29 pass breakups, including 25 over the last two seasons. He was an honorable-mention All-ACC selection in 2016.
Campbell: Chris Clemons scored 18 points, and the Camels never trailed Saturday in a 69-58 Big South Conference win over Presbyterian Saturday at Gore Arena. Campbell improved to 4-0 all-time in games played on New Year’s Eve, 3-0 in Big South play over the last three years. The Camels host Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Elon: The Phoenix dropped its Colonial Athletic Association opener to College of Charleston, 66-54, on Saturday at Alumni Gym. Elon (8-6, 0-1 CAA) put three players in double figures, led by 14 points from Tyler Seibring. Dmitri Thompson pitched in 13 points and nine boards while Brian Dawkins finished the day with 12 points. Charleston (10-4, 1-0 CAA) was led by Jarrell Brantley’s 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting and nine rebounds.
Mount Olive: The Trojans fell to Wingate 84-61 in non-conference action on Saturday in Mount Olive. The Trojans open the new year with a Conference Carolinas clash with Limestone College on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Kornegay Arena.
ECU: A stagnant shooting performance by the Pirates in the second and third quarters Saturday allowed Tulane to pull away for a 61-45 victory in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams at Minges Coliseum. The team continues league play on Wednesday with a matchup against the nation’s No. 1 team UConn. The Pirates and Huskies will tip off at 7 p.m. inside the XL Center in Hartford.
St. Augustine’s: On Saturday, Kaaliya Williams scored 16 points, and Kamya Renwicks added nine points for the Falcons in a 76-52 women’s basketball loss to Barton College in its home opener at Emery Gymnasium. Conference play resumes Thursday against CIAA opponent Bowie State at Emery Gymnasium starting at 5:30 p.m. This will be the second of six straight home contests for the Falcons, who opened the season with 14 consecutive road games.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons closed out their nonconference schedule on Saturday falling to James Madison, 83-76, at the JMU Convocation Center. Wake Forest rings in the new year and the start of ACC play at 7 p.m. on Thursday on the road vs. Notre Dame.
From news releases