Governor Justice Had His Hand in Firing of Doc Holliday at Marshall

Morgantown, West Virginia – Earlier today, Doc Holliday was not extended a contract extension to remain the head coach of the Marshall Thundering Herd.  That’s a very nice way of saying that he was fired.

The removal of Holliday from the position was odd for various reasons but primarily because he’s been so successful.  In his ten seasons with the Herd, Holliday had an 85-54 record, a Conference USA title in 2014, three division championships and was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year this season for the second time.

In is statement released on social media, Holliday said the following: “I have been informed that Marshall President Dr. Jerry Gilbert will not be extending my contract as Head Football Coach at Marshall University.”

This doesn’t sound like a man ready to retire.  Rather, it sounds like a person who was pushed out of his job.

And according to multiple reports, Governor Jim Justice, a Marshall University graduate, played a part in showing Holliday the door.  The decision to not retain Holliday involved people above Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick, including the board and the Governor.

Apparently this struggle has been going on for years.  In a 2017 report from the West Virginia Gazette & Mail, Justice reportedly pressured Marshall officials to fire Holliday and replace him with close personal friend, Bob Pruett, who is the former Marshall head coach.

Although it is rare for a Governor to be involved in the firing of a university football head coach, Justice is a billionaire alum of Marshall and rich alums often have great influence on the decision-making process.

The decision to not extend Holliday’s contract was disgraceful and it’s a real shame that the governor of our state was seemingly a major player in the process.

Holliday is an outstanding coach, a proud West Virginian and he deserves better.