Latest News, WVPA Sharing

Doc Holliday reacts to Justice comments


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — On Thursday, Marshall University football head coach Doc Holliday was doing exactly what he has done since December 2009 – trying to get the Thundering Herd team prepared for its next season.

Marshall head coach Doc Holliday instructs players as spring football practice continues on Thursday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington.
(Photo by Sholten Singer)

It was no different from any other practice, in his mind.

Things were a bit different, however, after Gov. Jim Justice made national headlines Wednesday when it became public knowledge that he met with Marshall officials recently in an attempt to coerce them to make changes within the football program, which include replacing Holliday as head coach.

Holliday reacted to those reports following Thursday’s practice.

“I’m sad. I think it’s sad, to be honest with you,” Holliday said. “Sad day for everybody. That being said, I’m only concerned about this football team and my job is to lead this football team – be around these kids, love these kids, get them better – and become a better football team. That’s the only thing I’m worried about.”

According to a report from Hoppy Kercheval of, the first time Justice pitched a coaching change was to Marshall President Jerome Gilbert in December 2016. The next pitch was March 28 when Justice reportedly met with five members of Marshall’s Board of Governors at the Capitol during the West Virginia Legislature.

Two days later, the West Virginia Legislature celebrated Marshall Day at the Capitol and Justice went on record with The Herald-Dispatch saying he wanted Marshall back to its glory days while bringing up former football coach and longtime friend Bob Pruett in the process.

Pruett was a key supporter of Justice during the governor’s race. Both men grew up in Beckley and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and Marshall.

“I personally believe we need a rejuvenation of excitement at Marshall,” Justice said on March 30. “In the Pruett days, we rivaled (West Virginia University), and we had two universities within our state that were good. Marshall was closing the gap. So whether it be academically or athletically, whatever, we have slipped and WVU has exploded to the upside.”

Justice’s remarks came after Marshall struggled through a 3-9 season in 2016.

Prior to the 2016 season, however, Holliday led Marshall to a 33-8 record in three seasons, including a 13-1 mark in 2014 when the program won its first Conference USA championship and finished the season at No. 23 in The Associated Press poll.

Marshall has gone 4-0 in bowl games under Holliday.

The story made national headlines as word spread of Justice’s comments on Holliday and the Marshall football program.

On Thursday, Justice again made the headlines when he called a press conference in regard to his thoughts on the proposed budget by the state’s lawmakers.

During the press conference, Justice brought out a silver dinner platter and opened the lid to unveil a pile of manure on the platter while calling the proposed $4.1 billion budget a “bunch of political bull-you-know-what.”

See more from The Herald-Dispatch

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address