Franklin graduate and former Roberson football coach Mike Houston was named the new head coach at James Madison on Monday.
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HARRISONBURG, Va. – James Madison University has hired Mike Houston as its new football head coach, Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne announced Monday. Houston becomes the seventh head coach in program history.
“I am thrilled to welcome Mike Houston as the next football head coach at James Madison,” Bourne said. “Mike has been a fast riser in the coaching ranks with success turning programs around at the Division II and FCS levels. His pedigree for winning and ability to lead young men make him the perfect fit to build upon the foundation already in place at JMU.”
JMU will hold a formal press conference to announce Houston’s hire on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. in the Bridgeforth Stadium Club. The event will be open to the public and streamed live on MadiZONE.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to be the next head football coach at James Madison University,” Houston said. “James Madison is a special place and my family and I look forward to becoming integral parts of the community.”
Possessing 10 years of collegiate coaching experience, including five as a head coach, Houston comes to Harrisonburg from The Citadel. He led the Bulldogs to a 14-11 record in his two seasons as head coach and is the only coach in The Citadel’s history to win a Southern Conference championship within his first two seasons.
In 2015, he guided the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record and a share of the 2015 SoCon title. They also defeated Southeastern Conference member South Carolina 23-22 in the regular-season finale and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs after upsetting ninth-ranked Coastal Carolina.
Prior to The Citadel, Houston was head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne, a NCAA Division II school in the South Atlantic Conference, for three seasons. He accumulated a 29-8 record at the helm and directed the Bears to three consecutive SAC championships, a stretch that included a school-record 13 wins in his final year. Houston was named SAC Coach of the Year each season and was also the Don Hansen Super Region II Coach of the Year in 2013. In his final season at LRU, the Bears advanced to the Division II national championship game and ranked No. 2 in the final polls.
Before his elevation to head coach, Houston served as Lenoir-Rhyne’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach from 2007-10. He spent the 2006 year as associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Brevard College.
Houston began his coaching career in the high school ranks. He coached for a decade at T.C. Roberson High School, including the last five as head coach, where he went 42-18 and helped the team to its first-ever conference championship. He spent his first five seasons at T.C. Roberson as the defensive coordinator after leading the defense at Forbush High School in his first two years out of college.
Houston is a 1994 graduate of Mars Hill University, where he played tight end for the Lions and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. In 2014, Houston was inducted into the Franklin High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
He is married to the former Amanda Owen and they have two sons, Owen Michael and Reid Wilson.
The Dukes are well-positioned for continued success, going 18-7 over the last two seasons with a pair of appearances in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs and a share of a Colonial Athletic Association championship in 2015. JMU has also recorded two wins over FBS programs (Virginia Tech, SMU) in the last six years and hosted ESPN’s College GameDay on October 24, 2015. As a program, the Dukes have had a .500 record or better for 13 consecutive seasons dating back to 2003 (106-53 overall) with seven playoff appearances during that time, including a I-AA national title in 2004 and a semifinal appearance as the No. 1 seed in 2008. JMU has ranked in the top five of the FCS for attendance in each of the last five seasons, averaging 21,425 fans per game over that time.
“We are excited for JMU Nation to meet Mike Houston and his staff as they work to progress JMU football to bigger and better things,” Bourne said. “As he and his staff jump right into recruiting, spring ball and preparation for the 2016 season, now is a great time to make your impact by joining the Duke Club and supporting student-athletes.”
Mike Houston Collegiate Coaching File
The Citadel – Head Coach – 2014-15
Lenoir-Rhyne (D2) – Head Coach – 2011-13
Lenoir-Rhyne (D2) – Defensive Coordinator – 2007-10
Brevard College (NAIA) – Defensive Coordinator – 2006