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The next head football coach at Marshall University should be Charles Huff.

Somebody needed to say that. Now, somebody has.

So why Huff?

n The Thundering Herd football program reminds me of a box of crackers that were left open. It has grown a bit stale. There are seven or eight or nine wins every season against a fairly easy, unremarkable schedule, but no championships.

That doesn’t sit well with a fan-base that loved and adored what once was Marshall’s mantra. Namely, “We Play For Championships.”

After winning a I-AA national championship with an undefeated team in 1996, the Herd won consecutive Mid-American Conference championships in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000. After a one-year hiatus, which featured the never to be forgotten 64-61 double-overtime victory over East Carolina in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, Marshall won another MAC championship in 2002.

In the 18 seasons since then? Only one conference championship.

Yes, it is time for a change. I believe the 37-year-old Huff will provide that. The Maryland native has worked his way up the coaching ladder in a hurry, landing at the pinnacle — the University of Alabama — at a young coaching age. That speaks volumes in itself. It is time for new ideas, new ways of thinking, new ways of winning and new ways of attracting fans back into Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

n Marshall has made a habit of hiring new coaches from big-time programs.

Jim Donnan was offensive coordinator for head coach Barry Switzer at Oklahoma when Marshall hired him. Bobby Pruett was defensive coordinator for head coach Steve Spurrier at the University of Florida when MU lured him back to his alma mater. And, yes, Doc Holliday had been the recruiting coordinator for head coach Urban Meyer at Florida before a second stint at West Virginia University when MU hired him.

Hiring Huff would fall right in line.

n A trusted friend who has been a major college offensive coordinator once worked on the same staff with Huff. This is what he said about Huff.

“You’d like him. Very personable. Would get involved in the community.”

The latter observation is a very big consideration. Marshall hasn’t had a head football coach get involved in the community for 16 years. And it shows. Attendance has waned. Interest has dropped. MU football simply has lacked excitement. The program needs new blood.

Huff would provide that.

n Let’s be honest, shall we? Marshall has had 29 coaches during 122 seasons of collegiate football. Isn’t it about time for MU officials to hire the first black head football coach in school history? Yes, indeed.

n Besides all those attributes, Huff is acclaimed as one of the very best recruiters in college football. There is no minimizing that fact.

So, in the final analysis, what it all amounts to is Huff checks all the boxes. Marshall should hire him as the Herd’s 30th football coach.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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