James Madison announced head football coach Mike Houston will be departing the program after three seasons.
Reports by JMU beat writer Greg Madia say Houston is heading to FBS East Carolina.
“We are grateful to Mike Houston, his family and his staff for their commitment to JMU over the last three years,” Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said in a statement. “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.”
JMU's season ended Saturday in the second round of the FCS playoffs with a 23-20 loss at No. 8 seed Colgate.
It was the third trip to the FCS playoffs in Houston's three seasons. The two prior were to Frisco, Texas, for the national championship game. The Dukes won the national title in Houston's first season in 2016 and lost 17-13 last year in the title game.
Overall, JMU went 37-6 under Houston with two CAA championships.
“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," Houston said in a statement. "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.”