After it was reported by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman on Wednesday that James Madison coach Mike Houston was expected to become the coach at Charlotte, Charlotte director of athletics Mike Hill said in a statement on Friday that Houston’s contract offer has been withdrawn.
“Normally, I would not comment on an ongoing search,” Hill said in the statement. “However, in light of recent public comments, I feel it’s important to update our supporters on the status of our interest in Mike Houston.
“This morning we withdrew a contract offer that had been negotiated in good faith with Coach Houston and his representatives. This was based on the fact that last evening, Coach Houston informed us that he had interest in exploring other head coaching opportunities, while remaining under consideration here.
“We feel great about our candidate pool and believe this institution, our students, fans and team deserve a head coach that is 100 percent committed to the Charlotte 49ers.”
The news comes after it was reported on Thursday by Yahoo’s Pete Thamel that sources are indicating East Carolina is targeting Houston. ECU fired coach Scottie Montgomery on Thursday.
Houston spoke with media in Harrisonburg after practice on Wednesday evening, following the report about Charlotte. Houston said he was contacted by and spoke with Hill, and told him he was interested in the job. Houston said he had been offered the job at Charlotte, but, “That’s it.”
“It’s unfortunate, it’s just a reality of college football right now, with the national signing day being moved up into December, institutions have obviously sped up their process toward going after different candidates for different reasons,” Houston said Wednesday.
Houston is in his third season at JMU, where he has a 37-5 overall record. JMU claimed the 2016 FCS national title, in his first season. The Dukes returned to the national title game last season, where they fell to North Dakota State.
JMU travels to face Colgate in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday at 1 p.m.