Mike Houston leaving JMU to take head coaching job at East Carolina
Houston, with a career record of 80-25, including a 37-6 run in three seasons at James Madison, will succeed Scottie Montgomery, whose teams were 9-26 in his three-year tenure.
Montgomery was fired on Thursday, ahead of ECU’s 58-3 loss to NC State on Saturday that concluded a 3-9 campaign for the Pirates.
JMU’s season came to an end on Saturday with a 23-20 loss to Colgate in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
The Dukes were the 2016 FCS national champions, and made it back to the title game in 2017, losing to North Dakota State, 17-13.
JMU defeated ECU in Greenville in 2017 by a 34-17 score.
The school has engaged Parker Executive Search as consultant to immediately commence a national search.
“We are grateful to Mike Houston, his family and his staff for their commitment to JMU over the last three years,” James Madison athletics director Jeff Bourne said Sunday. “When we hired Mike, he was the right coach at the right time for our program. He injected energy, he went about his job the right way, he cared about our student-athletes and he won.
“That said, success at James Madison is not determined by one individual. The foundation for success here remains intact with our returning and prospective student-athletes, our support staff, the athletics and campus infrastructure, the JMU administration, a passionate fan base and donor support. I am confident that we will have a new coach in place shortly who will build upon that foundation and carry us to even greater success,” Bourne said.
“The past three years for Amanda and I and our boys have been nothing short of amazing as far as our experience in Harrisonburg, Va., and being part of James Madison University,” Houston said. “I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to be part of what I believe is a perfect college environment found at JMU. I will forever be indebted to Jeff Bourne, Vice President Charlie King and President Jonathan Alger for believing in me and handing me the reins to coach the James Madison University football program.
“There’s only one JMU. This is a special place and a place that will be hard to ever replicate in future coaching opportunities. I will always have incredible memories of my time here. To JMU Nation, I want to say thank you for the most loyal and passionate support that any coach could ever ask for. My only regret is not getting back to Frisco, Texas this year. I am confident in and believe in the players in this program and look forward to following along next year as they make another incredible run,” Houston said.