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Houston leaving JMU for Pirates

James Madison NC State Football

James Madison head coach Mike Houston talks on his radio during the first half an NCAA college football game against North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, December 2, 2018

James Madison athletics director Jeff Bourne announced Sunday night that football coach Mike Houston is leaving JMU to accept a coaching opportunity at another school, which is presumed to be East Carolina.

ECU, which dismissed coach Scottie Montgomery on Thursday in his third season, had not made the hire official as of Sunday night but had called an emergency Board of Trustees meeting for Monday morning. Southern Miss athletics director Jon Gilbert also is expected to fill the Pirates’ vacant athletics director position.

Houston posted a 37-6 record in three seasons at James Madison, including winning the 2016 Football Championship Subdivision national championship and beating ECU, 34-14, the next year in Greenville. He also has been head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne and The Citadel.

Statement from Mike Houston, as released by JMU:

"The past three years for Amanda and I and our boys have been nothing short of amazing as far as our experience in Harrisonburg, Virginia and being part of James Madison University. 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."

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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