Middle Tennessee State football coach Rick Stockstill announced Tuesday morning that he will remain at the school and will not pursue any further the opening at East Carolina University.
Stockstill, a former offensive coordinator at ECU, was considered a leading candidate to replace Skip Holtz, who left to become head coach at South Florida.
“I am very humbled and appreciative of the interest East Carolina University has shown in me about their head coaching position,” Stockstill said in a statement released through the MTSU athletics department. “ECU is an outstanding University, community, and its football program has a great tradition and has been very successful throughout the years.
"The timing is never good for a coach to change jobs. However, the timing of this opportunity came at a critical time in recruiting with both universities and to the fault of neither MTSU nor ECU.
"I have decided I will remove my name from consideration at ECU. I could not look in the eyes of these recruits and their families and tell them the things I believe in and what I want them to believe in and then leave Middle Tennessee with only two weeks left in the recruiting process. Also, I have so much respect and admiration for our current players that they were ultimately the reason I could not pursue this any further. We have invested
a lot together during these four years which played a major role in this decision.”
The release said Stockstill was on the road recruiting for the Blue Raiders.
MTSU has gone 27-23 in four years under Stockstill, who replaced Andy McCollum on Dec. 12, 2005. This past season the Blue Raiders were 10-3 and won a bowl game for the first time since they became a Division I program.
“Personally, I want to thank Dr. (Sidney) McPhee, Chris (Massaro), and Middle Tennessee for giving me the opportunity to be the coach of the Blue Raiders,” Stockstill said. “They gave me a chance to be a head coach four years ago and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.”