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Contract of Marshall football head coach Doc Holliday will not be renewed

A committee is being formed to assist with the search for the next football coach
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 10:13 AM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Marshall University is not extending John “Doc” Holliday’s contract as Head Football Coach of the Thundering Herd.

Doc Holliday made the announcement via Twitter Monday.

“I have been informed that Marshall President Dr. Jerry Gilbert will not be extending my contract as Head Football Coach at Marshall University.”

Doc Holliday

“To each athlete, thank you for your dedication and sacrifice for Marshall University and our program, You are the reason I coach,” Holliday said on Twitter Monday.

Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert said Monday he is immediately forming a search committee to help identify candidates to lead the school’s football program.

Gilbert said Athletic Director Mike Hamrick will serve as chairman of the search committee, which will ultimately recommend the successful candidate to the president. The president will then present a contract to the Board of Governors for approval.

According to Gilbert, the committee will be made up of eight to 12 members representing various constituencies of the Marshall University community.

“We have already started reaching out to potential committee representatives and look forward to moving forward very quickly,” he said. “I have great confidence that this process and the input of the entire committee will help us hire the best coach for our football program.

“Just to be clear, there was no outside influences in this decision. I consulted with the athletic director and made this decision.”

He said a number of possible candidates have already reached out to indicate interest in the position.

He added, “At Marshall, we have a storied program, loyal fans and the foundation in place to field successful teams on and off the playing field. I am encouraged by the early indications that the pool of candidates is deep and will allow us to identify and select the right person.”

In 2020, Holliday was selected as the league’s Coach of the Year for the second time in his career (2014) and was tabbed the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Region 4 Coach of the Year. That honor covers all of Conference USA and the Big 12 Conference and made him a finalist for National Coach of the Year. This season, he was also named to the watch list for the Bryant Awards National Coach of the Year honor as Marshall spent eight weeks ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 and climbed as high as 21st (another school record) in the College Football Playoff poll.

He also became the fifth coach in C-USA history to win multiple Coach of the Year awards.

“I want to thank Doc Holliday for the leadership he has provided this program over the past 11 seasons,” said Marshall Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick. “In addition to his success on the field, he ran a clean program, graduated his student-athletes and prepared young men for life after football.” A Hurricane, W.Va. native, Holliday recorded 85 wins at Marshall, including three straight seasons with 10 or more victories from 2013 to 2015. The Thundering Herd went 13-1 in 2014 with a Conference USA title and victory in the Boca Raton Bowl. Holliday also led Marshall to eight bowl games, winning six. In his 11 seasons, Holliday returned Marshall University football to the national picture, serving as the program’s head coach for a school-record 139 games. He also racked up 77 victories over FBS opponents, another program record.

Holliday built the Herd into a perennial Conference USA contender. His teams sported 43 All-C-USA first team selections, 28 second-teamers, 44 honorable mention picks and 26 All-Freshman team selections. He had 13 players selected for C-USA’s top individual player-of-the-year awards. In December 2014, Holliday was named the 15th annual Gazette-Mail Sportsman of the Year by Charleston Newspapers. In April 2015, the Herd coach was honored as the 2014 Lowell Cade Sportsperson of the Year by The (Huntington) Herald-Dispatch. During his coaching career, Holliday coached in 28 bowl games and three national championship games. He also coached seven All-Americans.

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