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Mike Houston Named Charlotte’s Head Coach

The James Madison head coach is expected to take the reins of the Charlotte 49ers.

James Madison v North Carolina State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

UPDATE: Mike Houston will not be Charlotte’s head coach after Mike Hill decides to pull offer from Houston with East Carolina now open

After a quick coaching search, the Charlotte 49ers have landed on a highly qualified candidate out of the FCS ranks. Mike Houston, whose James Madison Dukes are currently competing in the FCS playoffs, will be taking over the reigns in Charlotte.

Mike Houston began his coaching career in 2006 as the defensive coordinator at Brevard college. After staying just one year, he made the leap to Lenoir-Rhyne, obtaining defensive coordinator and secondary coach status.

Following three years of defensive coordinator duties, Houston was promoted to head coach in 2010. A three-year tenure as head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne resulted in a 27-12 record and a DII National Championship game appearance in his final year in Hickory.

After making the move to the Southern Conference, Houston led The Citadel to the second round of the FCS Playoffs, finishing with a 9-4 record on the season. His most recent gig was a three-year stint with James Madison University where he guided the Dukes to a 37-5 record and an FCS National Championship.

Houston brings eight years of head coaching experience to a program that’s poised for success. His decorated career bears coach of the year awards at every head coaching stop on his resume.

NCAA Football: D1 Football Championship
James Madison Dukes head coach Mike Houston holds up the championship trophy after the game.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In his second year at James Madison, the Dukes’ stout defense allowed only 11.1 points per game, and led the FCS in interceptions (31), and takeaways (44). Joining a Charlotte defense that finished second in C-USA in rushing defense, Houston’s defensive minded outlook will fit right in.

In his two years at The Citadel, Houston’s offense pumped out 27 individual 100-yard rushing games, breaking the program record. The Bulldogs broke school records for all-purpose yards and total offense. The most eye-popping statistic in his tenure in Charleston was 346.9 rushing yards per game, and with stud running back Benny LeMay set to return for his senior year, Charlotte’s rushing attack has potential to dominate C-USA defenses.

Houston inherits a program with a 22-48 record over six seasons.

At age 47, the Franklin, North Carolina native takes the reins of a relatively new G5 program. Following Charlotte’s 5-7 season, Houston will look to build on the foundation that Brad Lambert laid in the Queen City.