Cignetti hires Bridgewater College assistant to coach safeties

James Madison Head Coach Curt Cignetti announced the addition of Eddie Whitley Jr. to the football coaching staff, as he will serve as safeties coach.
By  | 

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison Head Coach Curt Cignetti announced the addition of Eddie Whitley Jr. to the football coaching staff, as he will serve as safeties coach.

Whitley comes to JMU after spending the last three seasons at nearby Bridgewater College, where he was the secondary coach and pass defense coordinator.

“We are excited to have Eddie Whitley Jr. join our program,” Cignetti said. “He was an excellent player at Virginia Tech and was exposed to various defensive schemes in his NFL stops. He proved himself as a young coach in his three years at Bridgewater and will do a great job mentoring our safeties and recruiting the state of Virginia.”

His time with the Eagles was highlighted by their 2019 season, in which they finished 10-1, won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III Football Championship for the first time since 2005.

BC’s defense ranked ninth in Division III and led the ODAC in scoring defense (13.4). It ranked 12th in pass efficiency defense (100.25), which was an improvement of 118 spots from the year prior. The Eagles were also 19th in turnover margin (+1.09) and 22nd in total defense (281.8). He coached three players to all-conference status in safety Matt Dang and cornerbacks Chase Rosenthal and Luke Barnum. Both Dang and Rosenthal also earned all-region honors.

In his second year in 2018, Bridgewater finished 6-4 and he mentored Dang and cornerback Davonta Womack to All-ODAC honors. His first season also saw cornerbacks Isaac Evans and Josh Brooks earn all-conference laurels.

While at BC, Whitley worked with the Washington Redskins during OTAs in 2018 as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, working with his former safeties coach at Virginia Tech, Torrian Gray.

Prior to his coaching career, Whitley spent time with five different NFL franchises, originally being signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie free agent out of college. He also had stints with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals. Whitley also played one season in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts.

Whitley is a 2012 graduate of Virginia Tech, where he was an All-ACC performer and captain for the Hokies. He was a Second Team All-ACC honoree as a senior in 2011. He played in 54 career games during his career (2008-11) and was part of VT’s 2008 and 2010 ACC championship teams.