JMU is losing Mike Houston: But, to whom?

On Wednesday, word was that JMU football coach Mike Houston had been offered the head-coaching job at Charlotte, and while he confirmed the offer, there was no word on whether he was going to accept the job.

We may know why now.

East Carolina fired coach Scottie Montgomery on Thursday after three seasons that saw the Pirates go just 9-26 overall and 4-20 in American Athletic Conference games.

Montgomery, you may remember, got the job after ECU rather abruptly fired Ruffin McNeill after the Pirates slid to a 5-7 finish in 2015, two seasons removed from a 10-3 campaign in 2013, in the midst of a three-year stretch that had seen ECU go a combined 26-13.

So, ECU, good job, not even arguably a better job than Charlotte, which has only been at the FBS level since 2015, going 12-36 over that span.

The reports, then, that ECU may be interested in Houston, who has an 80-24 career record in stops at Lenoir-Rhyne, The Citadel and JMU, where his three teams are 37-5, are not surprising.

The school is also reportedly high on former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones and Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer, son of, well, you know.

But ECU appears to be highest on Houston, to a point that, according to a report today in the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, the school wasn’t planning on making the move with Montgomery until after its season finale on Saturday at N.C. State, but did so after word of Charlotte’s offer to Houston became public knowledge.

Which, wow.

You can probably cut it with the efforts to try to get Houston to stay at JMU, would be the message here.

ECU is a plum job, and the school has a lot more money to pay its new coach than JMU does.

Houston is making $515,311 a year at JMU. Montgomery’s contract at ECU had him at a base salary of $1 million, with a number of very reachable incentives adding another couple hundred thousand or so.

Story by Chris Graham

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