HUNTINGTON — After 11 seasons at Marshall University, Doc Holliday will not return as head coach of the Thundering Herd football team.
At 10 a.m. Monday, Holliday released the news on social media that his contract was not being renewed by the university.
“I have been informed that Marshall President Dr. Jerry Gilbert will not be extending my contract as Head Football Coach at Marshall University,” the statement said. “To Athletic Director Mike Hamrick and former University President Dr. Stephen Kopp, thank you for the opportunity in naming me Marshall’s 30th Head Football Coach, 11 years ago.”
Holliday’s contract was set to expire on June 30, 2021, the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Marshall announced later Monday morning that a search committee is being formed to help identify candidates for the vacant head coaching spot.
Hamrick will serve as chairman of the search committee that, according to Gilbert, will be made up of eight to 12 members representing different facets of the Marshall community.
“We have already started reaching out to potential committee representatives and look forward to moving forward very quickly,” Gilbert 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.”
Gilbert also stated that the decision on Holliday was his after consulting with Hamrick, which was a response to reports that political factors and those on the university’s Board of Governors were behind the decision.
“Just to be clear, there was no outside influences in this decision,” Gilbert said. “I consulted with the athletic director and made this decision.”
The move comes less than three weeks after Holliday was named Conference USA Coach of the Year and the AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year. This was following a season in which Marshall started 7-0 and was ranked No. 15 nationally in both major polls.
Holliday also was named to the watch list for the Bryant Awards National Coach of the Year as part of Marshall’s early season success.
However, the Herd struggled down the stretch, losing the final three games of the season, which included the 2020 Conference USA Championship — a 22-13 loss to the University of Alabama, Birmingham — and the 2020 Camellia Bowl — a 17-10 loss to Buffalo.
Marshall’s 7-3 mark in 2020 was the eighth time in 11 seasons that Holliday’s teams won at least seven games.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished together, both academically and athletically,” Holliday said. “We’ve been able to graduate student-athletes and develop them to their highest potential while competing for championships.”
During his 11 seasons, the Hurricane native coached in 139 games with the Herd, compiling an 85-54 record during his time in Huntington. Those figures include 77 wins over FBS schools, which was the most in program history.
In a release, Hamrick thanked Holliday for his 11 years with the program, which included three 10-win seasons (2013-2015).
“I want to thank Doc Holliday for the leadership he has provided this program over the past 11 seasons,” Hamrick said. “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.”
The pinnacle of Holliday’s tenure came in 2014, when he guided Marshall to a 13-1 record, a Conference USA Championship and a No. 23 ranking in the final Associated Press poll.
Following that season, Holliday was named the Gazette-Mail Sportsperson of the Year by the Charleston Gazette-Mail and the Lowell Cade Sportsperson of the Year by The Herald-Dispatch.
In addition to the 2020 C-USA Coach of the Year honors, Holliday had two players named to superlative awards this year: linebacker Tavante Beckett as the Defensive Player of the Year and quarterback Grant Wells as Freshman of the Year.
Those were two of 13 players named for league superlative awards during his tenure. In his 11 seasons, Holliday had 115 players honored by Conference USA among the first and second teams, as well as honorable-mention selections.