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James Madison Dukes football


James Madison Dukes football

James Madison Dukes football
2015 James Madison Dukes football team
First season 1972
Head coach Everett Withers
2nd year, 15–4 (.789)
Home stadium Bridgeforth Stadium and Zane Showker Field
Stadium capacity 24,877
Stadium surface FieldTurf
Location Harrisonburg, Virginia
League NCAA Division I FCS
Conference Colonial Athletic Association
All-time record 277–206–4 (.573)
Claimed national titles 1 (2004)
Conference titles 4 (1975, 1999, 2004, 2008)

Purple and Gold

Fight song JMU Fight Song
Mascot Duke Dog
Marching band Marching Royal Dukes
Outfitter Nike
Rivals Richmond Spiders
William & Mary Tribe
Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
Website JMU Football
JMU vs. Central Connecticut, 9/10/2011

The James Madison Dukes football team, founded in 1972, plays at Bridgeforth Stadium and is currently coached by Everett Withers. The JMU football team was rarely the centerpiece of JMU sports until the hiring of prior coach, Mickey Matthews, in 1999. Since then, JMU has gained recognition as one of the top programs in NCAA Division I FCS football.

Notable Dukes include Charles Haley, the only player to win five Super Bowl rings and an inductee of the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame;[1] Scott Norwood, the Buffalo Bills' all-time leading scorer; and Gary Clark, a pro bowl wide receiver for the Washington Redskins.


  • History 1
    • Under Mickey Matthews 1.1
    • Under Everett Withers 1.2
  • Current coaching staff 2
  • Conference affiliations 3
  • Rivalries 4
    • William & Mary 4.1
    • Delaware 4.2
  • Championships 5
    • National Championships 5.1
    • Conference Championships 5.2
  • Playoffs 6
  • Head coaches 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Just five years after (then) Madison College had become a coeducational institution, the Dukes fielded their first football team. Football was the brainchild of Dr. Ronald Carrier, Madison's president at the time, who was attempting to change the psychology of the campus away from an all-women's teachers college.[2] The first game took place on October 7, 1972 against Shepherd College's junior varsity team at Harrisonburg High School. The team consisted of a few dozen walk-ons and was coached by 30-year-old Challace McMillin.

In 1975, the Dukes had their first – and, to date, only – undefeated season and won the Virginia College Athletic Association title. Two players, Madison Hall of Fame quarterback Les Branich and offensive guard Jeff Adams, played on both the Dukes' only winless season in 1972 and its only undefeated season in 1975.[2][3]

For the 1980 season, Madison made the jump from NCAA Division III to NCAA Division I-AA where they played as an Independent through 1992. After twelve seasons the Dukes would join the Yankee Conference, which would become the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1997, then finally the Colonial Athletic Association in 2007.[4]

Under Mickey Matthews

The Dukes made the NCAA playoffs in former head coach Mickey Matthews' first year with the team and in 2004, the Dukes won the Division I-AA (now FCS) National Championship behind quarterback Justin Rascati and running back Raymond Hines. They were the first and only team to win three games on the road to advance to the National Championship Game. They returned to the playoffs in 2006 but suffered an early exit to the hands of Youngstown State University. The Dukes went to the playoffs again in 2007, traveling to Appalachian State in the first round. While down 27-28, JMU lost the game with a fumble on the ASU 8-yard line in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. In 2008, they posted a 10-1 season record (the lone loss coming in the season opener to FBS team Duke) and received the top seed in the playoffs behind sensational quarterback Rodney Landers. After defeating Wofford and Villanova (for the second time that season), they were defeated by the Montana Grizzlies in the semi-final round after Landers went down with an ankle injury.

A $62 million stadium expansion to Bridgeforth was completed in 2011, adding an upper deck, club seating and 17 private suites. Bridgeforth's official seating capacity is approximately 25,000, and is designed so it may be expanded to seat over 40,000.

Matthews gained his 100th career victory on October 6, 2012 in a 13-10 win over the Towson Tigers.[5]

At the end of the 2013 season, after going 6-6 and missing the FCS playoff for the fourth time in five years, Mickey Matthews was let go as the head football coach after 15 seasons at the helm for the JMU Dukes.[6]

Under Everett Withers

On December 21, 2013, Everett Withers, assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State was named as the sixth head coach in the program's history by athletic director, Jeff Bourne.[7] Prior to his work at Ohio State, Withers was interim head coach for North Carolina during the 2011 season after the dismissal of Butch Davis.[8] His first win as interim head coach at North Carolina was against the Mickey Matthews led James Madison Dukes on September 3, 2011.[9]

Current coaching staff

Name Position Year Alma mater
Everett Withers Head Coach 2014 Appalachian State (1986)
John Bowers Asst. Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator/Outside Linebackers 2014 James Madison (1979)
Brett Elliott Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks 2015 Linfield College (2006)
Zak Kuhr Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs 2014 Florida (2013)
Steve Sisa Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers 2014 Virginia Tech (2001)
Sean Fisher Tight Ends 2015 Mount Union (2008)
Parker Fleming Wide Receivers/Special Teams 2014 Presbyterian College (2010)
Jamal Powell Offensive Line 2015 TCU (2002)
Jules Montinar Secondary 2014 Eastern Kentucky (2009)
Antoine Smith Defensive Line 2014 Maine (2001)
Pete Davila Safties 2015 Youngstown State (1998)
Aaron Burkart Director of Football Strength & Conditioning 2014 Bowling Green (2006)
John Streicher Director of Football Operations and Player Personnel 2014 Ohio State (2013)

Conference affiliations


William & Mary



National Championships

Year Coach Record Championship
2004 Mickey Matthews 13–2 NCAA Division I-AA National Champions
Total national championships 1

Conference Championships

Year Coach Conference Conference Record
1975 Challace McMillin Virginia Collegiate Athletic Association (VCAA)
1999 Mickey Matthews Atlantic 10 Conference 7–2
2004 Mickey Matthews Atlantic 10 Conference 7–1
2008 Mickey Matthews Colonial Athletic Association 8-0
Total conference championships 4


The Dukes have appeared in the Division I-AA/FCS Playoffs eleven times, most recently in 2014. Their combined record is 9–10. They were Division I-AA National Champions in 2004.

Year Round Opponent Result
1987 First Round Marshall L 12–41
1991 First Round
W 42–35
L 21–24
1994 First Round
Troy State
W 45–26
L 21–28
1995 First Round Appalachian State L 24–31
1999 First Round Troy State L 7–27
2004 First Round
National Championship Game
William & Mary
W 14–13
W 14–13
W 48–34
W 31–21
2006 First Round Youngstown State L 31–35
2007 First Round Appalachian State L 27–28
2008 First Round
W 38–35
W 31–27
L 27–35
2011 First Round
Second Round
Eastern Kentucky
North Dakota State
W 20–17
L 14–26
2014 First Round Liberty L 21–26

Head coaches

Head Coach Years Win-Loss-Tie Pct.
Challace McMillin 1972-1984 67-60-2 .527
Joe Purzycki 1985-1990 34-30-2 .530
Rip Scherer 1991-1994 29-19 .604
Alex Wood 1995-1998 23-22 .511
Mickey Matthews 1999-2013 109-71 .606
Everett Withers 2014–present 15-4 .789
Totals Coaches Seasons Wins Losses Ties Pct.
1972–2014 6 42 271 206 4 .568


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  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Thorpe's Game-Winning Drive Lifts #5 Football Over #12 Towson, 13-10
  6. ^
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  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

  • Official website
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