Marshall football coach Doc Holliday was barely dry from his Gatorade bath following the 31-20 win over Maryland in the Military Bowl last Friday before he was off to his cabin somewhere in the eastern mountains of West Virginia.
One of Holliday’s associates described it as a few days of “decompression” for the tightly-wound, workaholic coach.
But it won’t be long before Holliday comes down out of the hills for, among other things, a meeting with Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick about his future with The Herd.
Hamrick is loath to talk specifics about contract discussions with coaches—he says those are “personnel issues”—but he did reveal on Metronews Talkline Monday that he hopes to work out a contract extension for Holliday.
“Our people feel–I know I do, our president does–that our football program is in great shape and we want to keep Doc Holliday here at Marshall for a long, long time,” Hamrick told me.
Holliday initially signed a five-year deal and was given a one-year extension following the 2011 season. He has two years left on his contract. Again, Hamrick won’t talk about the details, but he sounds confident he and the coach will be able to agree on an extension.
It will be curious to see if Holliday gets a raise. He makes $600,000 a year. This season, he should collect another $30,000 for going to a bowl game and winning the Conference USA eastern division.
The Herd is coming off its first ten-win season since 2002, and expectations will be high for next year with quarterback Rakeem Cato returning. Another successful season and Holliday’s name will be mentioned more prominently for other coaching jobs.
But Hamrick believes the man who played and coached at WVU has found a home at Marshall.
Doc grew up a short distance from campus, in Hurricane, and still has a house there. Hamrick has worked to improve Marshall’s facilities, spending $30 million on an indoor practice facility, an academic center and a sports medicine facility that are scheduled to open in August.
“I think Doc is very happy here,” Hamrick told me.
Holliday has a hefty buyout if he does leave for another job; it’s his annual salary times the years left on his contract; the longer his contract is extended, the more it would cost him to leave. (There is also a fascinating caveat in the contract that raises the buyout by $3 million if he goes to WVU.)
But coaches are difficult to predict. The turf at another school always seems a little greener. Hamrick is hopeful, however, that the Herd Green is more attractive than the other side of the fence.
“I think he’s going to be a here a long time,” Hamrick said.