NCAA

Mike Houston bids farewell to JMU, takes head coaching position at ECU

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Mike Houston bids farewell to JMU, takes head coaching position at ECU

Following the frenzy that consumed the college football world last week, James Madison University's head football coach Mike Houston has accepted the head coaching position at FBS school, East Carolina University.

The timing was not ideal for Houston, whose potential move was leaked earlier in the week just days before the JMU Dukes took on Colgate for round two of the playoffs Saturday. The Dukes lost that game and 24 hours later, Houston had accepted the job at ECU.

ECU took strong notice to Houston in 2017, when JMU, an FCS school, beat the FBS team 34-14 in Greenville during the school's home opener. Due to ECU being an FBS school, JMU will receive $750,000 from ECU as a buyout to Houston's 10-year contract with JMU. 

Mike Houston took to social media Monday in an over four-minute long video statement addressing JMU on his decision to leave.

“Even though I am leaving, I could not think more highly of this institution, this football program, and most of all our fan base," Houston said in the video. “I wish James Madison University and its football program the very best. I know some people have some hard feelings about me leaving. It has not been an easy decision, but at the same time, this is what is best for Amanda, Owen, Reed, myself and my career at this time.”

In a statement Sunday evening, JMU Athletic Director Jeff Bourne acknowledged Houston's decision to leave and announced the search for a new head coach for JMU.

"After three memorable and highly successful seasons with Mike Houston, we find ourselves in transition looking for a new head football coach," Bourne said in the statement. "First, I have no hard feelings about Mike leaving for this opportunity. He was the right fit for JMU for the last three years and we are grateful that he chose James Madison. Mike had FBS offers after each of his first two JMU seasons, and in each case, we were able to present him with an attractive package to stay at JMU."

Bourne also references the earlier date change to national signing day being Dec. 19 this year, which forces programs to land a coach more quickly than usual at the conclusion of the regular season.

“I am excited about this new opportunity, but am saddened about having to leave behind a place that is as special as this," Houston said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will always support this football program and this institution.”

Virginia Tech spoils halftime lead, falls to No. 10 Duke

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Virginia Tech spoils halftime lead, falls to No. 10 Duke

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Tre Jones was pleased that when No. 10 Duke fell behind early at Virginia Tech, the Blue Devils showed composure and gradually worked their way back.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski was glad he had Jones to lead the way.

“They follow his lead,” Krzyzewski said after Jones scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half as Duke rallied to beat the Hokies 77-63 Friday night.

On a team with many prominent freshman, the sophomore point guard said seeing his teammates respond in the right way was “huge for us tonight just like on Tuesday" when the Blue Devils won 87-75 at Michigan State. “Another big road game. A big crowd. In past years we've struggled here.”

Freshmen Vernon Carey Jr. and Wendell Moore Jr. added 12 points each for the Blue Devils (9-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had lost three in a row in Cassell Coliseum. They used runs of 12-2 just after halftime and 12-3 a short time later to take command after trailing for almost the entire first half.

“We played an outstanding 18 minutes in the second half,” Krzyzewski said, “although I'll say this: We played an outstanding 12 minutes in the first half to stay in the game.”

P.J. Horne scored 15 points to lead the Hokies (6-3, 1-1), who lost their third in a row and ended their three-game home winning streak against the Blue Devils. Wabisa Bede and Tyrece Radford added 12 points each.

The Hokies made 10 of their first 14 shots and led by 12 early, but Duke slowly climbed back. The early 12-2 run in the second half gave them their first lead, 50-47, since the opening minute. After Virginia Tech pulled even at 52 on Horne's 3-pointer with 11:10 remaining, the Blue Devils scored 12 of the next 15 points and gradually pulled away.

Jones had four in that latter burst, which ended with the Blue Devils ahead 62-55.

“Tre Jones is so disruptive. He's made great progress with his game offensively but he is a mean dude defensively,” Hokies first-year coach Mike Young said.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: The Blue Devils came in averaging seven 3-pointers and had three by the time Carey scored his first point (9:24 into the game) and six by halftime. Virginia Tech had 10 field goals before the game was 10 minutes old, and it took Duke 15 minutes to make 10 shots. Five of them were 3s, though, to keep the score close.

Virginia Tech: Landers Nolley II is the Hokies' leading scorer (20 ppg) and is second on the team in assists. He had three first-half assists, each time feeding a teammate for an easy lay-in when the defense came toward him. But Nolley had an otherwise pedestrian night, finishing with seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and nine of their 14 turnovers. He also was called for a flagrant foul with the Hokies trailing 66-57 with 4:34 to play.

“I think they got up under his chin, and I didn't think he handled it very well,” Young said.

STREAK ENDS

Carey arrived on a streak of seven double-doubles but played just 15 minutes and grabbed only five rebounds as Duke went with a smaller lineup.

UP NEXT

The Blue Devils don't play again until Dec. 19 at home against Wofford.

The Hokies are at home against next Wednesday against Chattanooga.

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Howard football coach Ron Prince resigns amid investigation into verbal abuse allegations

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Howard football coach Ron Prince resigns amid investigation into verbal abuse allegations

Ron Prince resigned from his position as head coach at Howard University on Friday. Prince had been on administrative leave since November after allegations of verbal abuse and mistreatment of players.

“Coach Ron Prince has resigned as head coach of Howard’s football program, effective immediately,” Howard athletics director Kery Davis said in a statement to ESPN. “The university and Coach Prince have agreed to mutually part ways. A national search for a replacement will begin immediately."

The allegations came to light after HBCU Gameday reported that Davis received a letter from a parent with the accusations against Price. The university put Price on administrative leave and launched an investigation into the matter.

Four Howard players joined the transfer portal in October, the most notable being quarterback Caylin Newton, the brother of former NFL MVP Cam Newton. Prince joined Howard after the 2018 season and has had 17 players enter the transfer portal during his tenure.

Price's previous experience includes coaching in the NCAA for Rutgers University and Michigan University, and in the NFL for the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts. He was the head coach at Kansas State from 2006-08. 

Howard assigned interim responsibilities to director of football operations Aaron Kelton, who will continue on in that role until a new coach is hired.

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