January 19, 2016

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) New James Madison football coach Mike Houston is abandoning the triple-option he ran at The Citadel and will employ an attacking spread offense that operates out of the shotgun with the Dukes.

Houston was introduced Tuesday at JMU. He replaces Everett Withers, who compiled an 18-7 record and guided the Dukes to two playoff berths but left after two seasons to become the head coach at Texas State.

Houston spent two seasons at The Citadel, compiling a 14-11 record. The Bulldogs were 9-4 this season, including a 23-22 upset of South Carolina in their regular season finale, and reached the second round of the FCS playoffs. The winning record was just the fourth for the Bulldogs since 1995 and included a share of the Southern Conference title.

Prior to taking over at The Citadel, Houston was the head coach for three years at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, compiling a 29-8 record and winning three consecutive South Atlantic Conference championships and three consecutive conference coach of the year awards.

In his final season at Lenoir-Rhyne, the Bears advanced to the Division II national championship game and ranked No. 2 in the final polls.

A former defensive coordinator at Lenoir-Rhyne and Brevard College, Houston said the Dukes will carry their attacking style of play over to the defensive side as well, operating primarily out of a 4-2-5 or 3-4 formation.

''We're going to use man pressure, zone pressure as well as playing good, hard, sturdy base defense,'' he said. ''One thing that I promise you about both sides of the football is that we are going to be a hard-nosed, tough, physical football team. ... That's been the trademark of every team that I've ever coached.''


A previous version of this story incorrectly said The Citadel's winning record this season was its fourth in program history. It was its fourth since 1995.

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