PSR Press Room

Marshall hires WVU's Holliday as head coach

Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick says West Virginia assistant John "Doc" Holliday has signed a five-year contract to coach the Thundering Herd.

Hamrick says Holliday will be paid $600,000 per season. He replaces Mark Snyder, who resigned Nov. 29 after going 22-37 in five seasons.

It's the first head coaching job for the 52-year-old Holliday after three decades as an assistant, most of them with the Mountaineers. He has the task of restoring respectability to a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2003.

Holliday was a high school football star 30 miles away from Marshall's campus in Hurricane, WV, and played linebacker for the West Virginia Mountaineers from 1976-78. He spent 20 seasons as an assistant under Don Nehlen before moving on to North Carolina State. It was at Florida, however, serving as an associate head coach for Urban Meyer, where he developed a reputation as one of the top recruiters on the east coast.

Despite being twice passed over for the head coaching job at his Alma Mater -- once when Rich Rodriguez replaced Nehlen and again when current head coach Bill Stewart replaced Rodriquez -- Holliday returned to WVU when Stewart took over.

"Now he gets a chance to lead his own program, which is what every coach aspires to," Stewart said. "That said, we can be proud that this environment helped cultivate a leader and new head coach. We will be ready for him and his team when we square off next season."

Defensive coordinator Rick Minter will coach Marshall (6-6) in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26.

Dec 17 2009 by Tony DeFazio