Cignetti to Indiana
The Indiana Hoosiers have hired Curt Cignetti as their new coach, school officials announced Thursday. Shortly after the announcement, James Madison officials said Cignetti had resigned, but will coach the Dukes in their bowl game. "I am excited to lead this program forward and change the culture, mindset, and expectation level of Hoosier football," Cignetti said in a statement. Cignetti spent the past five seasons at James Madison, where he presided over an FCS powerhouse and then over one of the most successful transitions to FBS in NCAA history. There, he went 52-9, winning three Colonial Athletic Association conference titles at the FCS level before leading James Madison (11-1, 7-1 Sun Belt Conference) to East Division crowns in each of its first two seasons in the new conference. The Dukes are not eligible to play in Saturday's league championship game but will be bowl-eligible. While Cignetti's experience has been primarily on the offensive side -- working with quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends -- James Madison's calling card lately has been a stout defense. The Dukes have allowed just 4.9 yards per play this season. What the Hoosiers are getting in the 62-year-old Cignetti is an experienced head coach who was considered one of the hottest names in this year's coaching ranks. Indiana hired first-time college coaches with each of its last two choices -- Tom Allen and Kevin Wilson. Allen was fired Sunday after seven full seasons. He was 9-27 overall and 3-24 in league play during the three seasons since Indiana finished 6-2 in 2020.
Bills LB arrested
Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller turned himself in to police in a Dallas suburb Thursday after he was charged in a warrant with domestic violence against the mother of his children, who is pregnant, police said. Dallas police confirmed that Miller, 34, surrendered to police in the suburb of Glenn Heights to face a charge of third-degree felony assault of a pregnant woman, which is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The alleged assault occurred Wednesday, according to a police affidavit in which officers wrote that Miller twice put his hands on the neck of the woman, pulled out a chunk of her hair and threw her onto a couch. The woman was treated for minor injuries, including bruising on her neck, police said. Miller was free after posting $5,000 bond at the DeSoto Regional Jail in his hometown, Glenn Heights police said. Miller did not return a text message from The Associated Press seeking comment. The woman and Miller have been in a relationship for seven years and have children together, police wrote in an affidavit supporting the arrest warrant.
Penn State to hire OC
Penn State is hiring Kansas' Andy Kotelnicki as its offensive coordinator, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details were being finalized and the hire still needed university approval. However, Kansas announced it was promoting Jim Zebrowski from quarterbacks coach to co-offensive coordinator, while making no mention of Kotelnicki. Jayhawks Coach Lance Leipold also elevated Jordan Peterson to co-defensive coordinator from defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator. At Penn State, Kotelnicki will replace Mike Yurcich, who was fired by Coach James Franklin with two games left in the regular season after the Nittany Lions lost 24-15 to Michigan. At Kansas, Kotelnicki has been part of a staff that has directed a huge turnaround. The Jayhawks (8-4) are bowl-eligible in consecutive seasons for the second time in program history. This season, they ranked eighth in the nation in offense at 7.01 yards per play.
Staff chances at Clemson
Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney is letting go of offensive line coach Thomas Austin and defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall. Swinney announced Thursday that the two staffers would not return next season. Hall had joined Clemson as an analyst in 2015 and was part of the program through both its national championships after the 2016 and 2018 seasons. He was promoted to defensive ends coach in 2018. Swinney said he and Hall talked this week and agreed to mutually part ways. Austin was a former Clemson center who joined the staff as analyst in 2021 and took over the offensive line the next season when Robbie Caldwell moved to another role.
SEC sticks with Atlanta
The SEC Championship Game will remain at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta through at least 2031 under a contract extension announced Thursday. The SEC joined stadium operator AMB Sports and Entertainment and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority in announcing the agreement ahead of the 32nd annual title game Saturday, matching No. 1 Georgia -- the two-time defending national champion -- against No. 8 Alabama. The previous deal was set to expire after the 2026 game. Under the new agreement, the SEC also can exercise a five-year option that would keep the game at the 71,000-seat retractable roof stadium near downtown Atlanta through 2036. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said there hasn't been any consideration of moving the game to a more centralized location, even as the league grows to 16 schools and expands further westward with the addition of Texas and Oklahoma next season. Atlanta began hosting the SEC championship in 1994 after the first two games were held at Legion Field om Birmingham. Ala. The Georgia Dome was the site through 2016, when that stadium was replaced by the current facility built next door.
Sanders earns SI honor
Deion Sanders reinvigorated a fan base and put a downtrodden football program back on the map in his first season at Colorado. For that, the Buffaloes coach was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated. It was a roller-coaster inaugural season as Sanders took over a 1-11 Colorado team. But it was an entertaining ride, complete with sellouts, celebrities showing up on the Folsom Field sideline, media visits from major networks and of course progress on the field. The Buffaloes sprinted out of the gate, going 3-0 and becoming the the talk of college football. They finished by losing eight of their last nine to wind up 4-8. Sanders did things his way, too. He overhauled his roster after his arrival from Jackson State and turned to the transfer portal in order to quickly rebuild. That rubbed some the wrong way. Not that Sanders cared. He once quipped, "Your opinion of me is not the opinion that I have for myself." Sanders frequently wears a Colorado sweatshirt that reads: "I ain't hard 2 find," a message to highly touted recruits that his door was open. The Buffaloes are moving from the Pac-12 to the Big 12 next season. Sanders will be featured on the cover in the Dec. 15 issue. In the background of the picture taken at Folsom Field are his supporters, which includes his kids -- quarterback Shedeur, defensive back Shilo, social-media coordinator Deion Jr. and Buffaloes basketball player Shelomi.
Rangers keep staff
The World Series champion Texas Rangers will bring back their entire on-field coaching staff for Manager Bruce Bochy next season. General Manager Chris Young said Thursday he would keep the entire group together after winning the franchise's first World Series title in Bochy's first season. It was the organization's 63rd season overall and 52nd since moving to Texas. When Bochy was hired with a three-year contract last year, his Rangers staff included seven coaches who were already in the organization. The only newcomers other than Bochy were pitching coach Mike Maddux for his second stint in Texas and associate manager Will Venable. Third base coach Tony Beasley will return for his 10th season since first joining the Rangers in 2015. Beasley served as interim manager the final 48 games of the 2022 season after Chris Woodward was fired and before Bochy was hired. Also returning are first base coach Corey Ragsdale, bullpen coach Brett Hayes, catching coach Bobby Wilson, bench coach Donnie Ecker and hitting coaches Tim Hyers and Seth Conner.