Despite being named Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2020, the contract of Marshall head coach Doc Holliday will not be renewed for the 2021 season. The 63-year-old West Virginia native has spent 32 years coaching in the Mountaineer state, including the last 11 at the helm of the Thundering Herd, amassing an 85-54 record with eight bowl appearances. Holliday announced the decision in a statement on Twitter Monday morning.
“I have been informed that Marshall President Dr. Jerry Gilbert will not be extending my contract as Head Football Coach at Marshall University,” said Holliday in his statement.
Under Holliday’s watch, Marshall won a C-USA title in 2014 after going 13-1 and won East division championships in 2013 and 2020. However, the team dropped its final three games after starting 7-0 and being ranked as high as 15th in the Associated Press and Coaches’ Polls.
Several current and former players have already voiced their gratitude towards Holliday on social media.
I will forever be thankful for @DOCMUFB for being the first coach to believe in me and giving me the opportunity to play football at Marshall. You have changed countless lives just by believing in so many guys. I am grateful to experience you as a coach and as a mentor.— Grant Wells (@GWellss) January 4, 2021
It has been nothing short of a blessing and a privilege to have played under Coach Holiday for five years. I will always be thankful for the opportunity given to me by Coach Holiday to further my education and play the game I love at Marshall University. Thank you, @DOCMUFB pic.twitter.com/8hmO6wkHHo— Will Ulmer (@UlmerWill) January 4, 2021
While Holliday’s tenure at Marshall was largely successful, there were reports of a potential move at head coach dating back to 2017. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice was reported to have wanted Holliday replaced with former Thundering Herd coach Bob Pruett in April of 2017.
According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo, the decision not to extend Holliday’s contract came from outside of the university.
Sources: The decision to remove Doc Holliday at Marshall came from above the athletic director’s head, as it was orchestrated by the governor and board. Holliday made four-straight bowl games and eight in 10 years. https://t.co/prD4uP1tHH— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 4, 2021
However, Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert denied that outside influences played a factor.
“Just to be clear, there were no outside influences in this decision,” said Gilbert on Twitter. “I consulted with the athletic director (Mike Hamrick) and made this decision.”
The search is already underway for Holliday’s replacement.