Lee details Marshall coaching search on MetroNews ‘Hotline’

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University has a new head football coach in former Alabama assistant coach Charles Huff following a near two week-long search process.

On January 4, the day that former coach Doc Holliday announced his contract would not be renewed, Marshall President Jerome Gilbert formed a search committee comprised of a variety of Marshall interests.

One of those on the committee, Marshall Hall of Famer and NFL All-Pro Carl Lee, detailed parts of the search on MetroNews ‘Hotline’ that led Marshall to name Huff the program’s 31st head football coach on Sunday.

Charles Huff (Alabama Football)

The Marshall University Board of Governors (BOG) approved Huff’s contract, with a total annual value of the contract will be $755,500 for four years, on Monday.

Lee called it a historic move for Marshall as Huff is an African-American.

“I was thinking about the plane crash and here we are 51 years later and being the first D1 university in the state to have a black head coach. That was meaningful to me,” Lee said.

“Having the perfect resume to me made it even better.”

Lee was joined on the committee by former Marshall football players Madison Sayre, Casey Hill, and Andre Motley, and current Marshall football player Alex Mollette. Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick served as chair of the committee.

Athletics Committee Chair Chris Miller and Bill Noe represented the BOG on the search committee. The committee also consisted of faculty representative Karen McComas, former Marshall president Gary White and Mark George, who is Marshall’s Quarterback Club chairman.

According to Lee, the committee virtually interviewed more than 40 candidates initially for the position and ranked candidates in three categories of A, B and C, with A being the highest regarded.

Carl Lee

He said that the committee then began to narrow the field and got down to a final six. Lee said the committee members were asked individually to give their final six candidates and then a final three from the six finalists.

The final three candidates, who came to Huntington for an in-person interview on Thursday and Friday, were Huff, Louisville Offensive Coordinator Dwayne Ledford and then-current Marshall Defensive Coordinator Brad Lambert.

Lee said the committee got down to a final two between Huff and Lambert and were ultimately split. According to him, Gilbert and Hamrick made the final decision on Saturday.

“All that information and all the conversation got back to President (Gilbert) and Mike Hamrick. From that point, those two guys went about it. However the process worked between those two guys,” Lee said on ‘Hotline.’

Lee said that Gilbert called him on Saturday to inform him Marshall was going with Huff.

Huff, who just came off winning the national championship the previous week with the Crimson Tide, joined Alabama in 2019 after one season in 2018 as the assistant head coach, run-game coordinator and running backs coach at Mississippi State.

Huff has 17 years of coaching experience on both the NFL and college levels including being a RB coach at Penn State from 2014-17.

Huff is being introduced officially as head coach on Tuesday afternoon in a virtual press conference. Lee said Huff is expected to keep a handful of Marshall assistant coaches on his staff, potentially four, as Huff stated in his coaching interview.

Lambert will not be around as multiple reports Monday said he is accepting a similar position at Purdue University.