In five seasons, Marshall Coach John "Doc" Holliday has brought Thundering Herd football back into the national picture.
His 2014 Herd (13-1) won the school's first Conference USA Championship with a thrilling comeback, title-game win over Louisiana Tech. MU headed to the Boca Raton Bowl, where it routed Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois, 52-23. The Herd finished the season in the major polls -- No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 23 in the Associated Press media poll.
The Herd coach was named the 2014 Conference USA Coach of the Year in voting by his peers.
Holliday received a six-year contract extension (through July 2021) for $755,500 annually on April 8. He takes a 40-25 record into the 2015 season, and the Herd has won 19 of its last 21 games overall and 14 of the last 15 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The 2014 title season followed a successful 2013, as Marshall went 10-4, won the C-USA East Division crown and downed ACC member Maryland in the Military Bowl -- the Terps' last game before heading to the Big Ten.
In December 2014, Holliday was named the 15th annual Gazette-Mail Sportsman of the Year by Charleston Newspapers. In April 2015, the Herd coach was honored as the 2014 Lowell Cade Sportsperson of the Year by The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington).
Holliday, named as Herd coach on Dec. 17, 2009 in his first collegiate head coaching job, is widely regarded as one of the top recruiters in the nation. He has more than 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, including previous stops at Florida, North Carolina State and West Virginia, his alma mater.
Marshall displayed balance on offense and a strong defense throughout the 2014 season and boasted 10 all-conference first team selections as voted by C-USA coaches, as star players like quarterback Rakeem Cato, center Chris Jasperse, defensive tackle James Rouse and cornerback Darryl Roberts were team leaders.
In 2013, Holliday took the Herd where it hadn't been in its previous eight years in Conference USA ... nine regular-season victories, seven league wins and a berth in the C-USA title game, mostly on the strength of an unblemished 6-0 mark at home for the first time since 2002.
The Herd's 31-20 win over Maryland was one of only two bowl victories by teams from non-AQ BCS conference teams over BCS league schools in the 2013 postseason. Marshall also boasted the best (scoring) defensive turnaround in the nation (19.9 fewer points allowed per game.
In five seasons, Holliday's program has had 33 All-Conference USA selections (first and second team, and honorable mention), including 17 this season.
During his time in Huntington, Holliday's teams have consistently improved as the season stretches into the winter months. The Herd is 21-6 under Holliday after Oct. 29, including an eye-popping 12-1 mark in the friendly confines of Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
In 2011, the Herd went 7-6 against the 16th-toughest schedule in the nation, a slate that was ranked second among non-BCS schools. Two of those victories came against eventual C-USA champion Southern Miss and Big East co-champ Louisville, the latter coming on the road for the program's first non-conference road win since the early 2000s. Marshall also won five Conference USA games, the most for the program since it had joined the league in 2005.
During his coaching career, Holliday has coached in 23 bowl games, three national championship games and coached 12 players that have gone on to the National Football League. He has also coached five All-
A native of Hurricane, W.Va., Holliday was a three-year letter-winner at linebacker at West Virginia (1976-78) and has earned bachelor's (1979) and master's (1981) degrees from WVU. He won a state high school wrestling title at 175 pounds (all divisions) in 1975 at Hurricane.
Holliday and his wife, Diana, have four children -- Meghan, Cade, Chase and Cody.