Five-year deal expected to be given to former Lenoir-Rhyne coach
BY JEFF HARTSELL
The Citadel will introduce new football coach Mike Houston on Thursday, one day after Houston's former school preempted the Bulldogs' announcement.
Houston, 42, will replace Kevin Higgins, who resigned on Dec. 16 to become an assistant coach at Wake Forest. He will be introduced at 10 a.m. Thursday at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
In a strange twist, Lenoir-Rhyne announced Wednesday that Houston had resigned after three years as the Bears coach to take the job with the Bulldogs, before The Citadel could make its own announcement. That came after The Post and Courier reported Tuesday night that Houston had accepted The Citadel's offer.
A Lenoir-Rhyne source said Houston will receive a five-year contract and bring six assistants with him from the Hickory, N.C., school.
Those assistants include offensive coordinator Brent Thompson; offensive line coach Ron Boyd; inside linebackers coach Blake Harrell; defensive line coach Roy Tesh; outside linebackers/ends coach Aaron Brock; and running backs coach Lou Conte.
Houston is to meet with The Citadel's current assistants Thursday.
Lenoir-Rhyne's marketing and communication department released a statement Wednesday confirming Houston's move.
"Coach Mike Houston has announced his resignation from the head coaching position at Lenoir-Rhyne University to accept the head coaching job at The Citadel," the statement said. "Though the entire Lenoir-Rhyne community will miss him tremendously, we are excited for Coach Houston as he embarks on the next phase of his coaching journey.
"It has always been a goal of Mike's to coach at a D-I school and The Citadel provides that opportunity. He has had a very successful tenure at LR and we wish he and his family all the best as they head to Charleston."
Houston 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.