Citadel sources: Lenoir-Rhyne coach the favorite among three finalists

Houston

Sources inside The Citadel football program say Lenoir-Rhyne coach Mike Houston looks like the favorite among three finalists to emerge as the Bulldogs' new coach.

"Houston's the guy," one source said over the weekend.

The Post and Courier reported Friday that The Citadel's search committee met that morning with athletic director Larry Leckonby, whittling the field down to three finalists: Houston, Air Force assistant Clay Hendrix and Navy assistant Ashley Ingram.

One or more of those finalists are expected to visit The Citadel campus Monday to meet with school president Lt. Gen. John Rosa and other members of the administration, sources said. Former Citadel coach Kevin Higgins resigned three weeks ago to become an assistant coach at Wake Forest.

A look at the finalists:

Houston, 42, just finished his third season as head coach at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, leading the Bears to a 13-2 record and an appearance in the national championship game. The 1994 Mars Hill graduate has been named South Atlantic Conference coach of the year twice, and owns a record of 29-8 in three seasons at Lenoir-Rhyne. He was defensive coordinator at Lenoir-Rhyne for four years and also coached on the college level at Brevard. A year ago, Lenoir-Rhyne extended his contract through the 2016 season.

Hendrix, 50, is in his seventh season at Air Force, where he is associate head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. He is a 1986 Furman graduate and coached 19 years for the Paladins, helping Furman to six Southern Conference titles and the 1988 national title. The native of Commerce, Ga., also coached at North Carolina State.

Ingram, 40, is in his sixth season at Navy, where he is running game coordinator and coaches centers and guards. He was a finalist for the head coaching job at Austin Peay last spring, leading to a raise and the additional title of running game coordinator at Navy. The native of Iron City, Ga., is a 1996 graduate of North Alabama and also has coached at Rhode Island and Bucknell.

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