New ECU Head Coach Mike Houston (Photo by Andy Hilton/recruit757)
ECU looks to native son Mike Houston to turn the tide of Pirates Football
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
Mike Houston has been a successful coach wherever he goes.
East Carolina now looks to Houston to reinvigorate their football program.
With one game left in the season, East Carolina fired then head coach Scotty Montgomery. The firing allowed ECU to seriously pursue Houston, who was in talks with Charlotte about taking over their program.
Houston has earned an 80-25 record and a combined six conference championships in eight seasons as a head coach. He left the Citadel to take the head coaching position at James Madison. While at the Citadel in 2014 and 2015, he held a 14-11 win-loss record, won a split SoCon championship, was named SoCon Coach of the Year, beat South Carolina 23-22 in the regular-season finale and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs after upsetting then ninth-ranked Coastal Carolina.
At James Madison, he took the Dukes to a National Championship win in his first season. In year two, the Dukes lost in the title game. Coach Houston’s season ended Saturday with a second round loss to Colgate in the Division I FCS second round. Houston was 37-6 in three seasons as the head coach of JMU.
The Pirates need to re-establish their winning tradition.
Over the last three season, East Carolina was 9-26 under Coach Scottie Montgomery. Montgomery was hired to replace Ruffin McNeill after a 2015 season where the Pirate moved into the American Athletic Conference from Conference USA and went 5-7.
East Carolina officially hired their new Director of Athletics, Jon Gilbert, at 10 a.m. Monday morning. His first official duty was the hiring of Mike Houston.
“I am so pleased to welcome Mike Houston, his wife, Amanda and their two boys to the East Carolina family,” Gilbert said at Monday morning press conference. “Mike has worked his way up the coaching ranks and has a track record of success at every program he has led.
“Mike made it perfectly clear to me this is the job he covets and he fully understands the tradition and prestige of Pirate football. He is a man of high integrity, a great communicator and believes in molding student-athletes on and off the field. He’s going to be a great asset to our university and the Greenville community. I know he can’t wait to get started and he and his staff will work tirelessly to get the Pirates back on a path to success.”
Houston is a North Carolina native and a 1994 graduate of Mars Hill University.
– Andy Hilton