HUNTINGTON — Marshall coach Doc Holliday was noncommittal on his future with the Herd following Friday’s loss in the Camellia Bowl.
Holliday’s contract expires on June 30, 2021, which is at the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year, meaning the 2020 season was his last under the current deal.
After Friday’s loss, Holliday said he and Athletic Director Mike Hamrick have not discussed his contract to this point.
“At the end of the day, Mike and I will sit down at some point and figure out what’s going on, but right now, I hadn’t even thought about it, to be honest,” Holliday said.
Earlier in the week, Hamrick declined to comment on the status of Holliday’s contract, citing athletic department procedures as his reasoning.
“We do not discuss any type of personnel or contractual issues,” Hamrick said.
Holliday was also asked following Friday’s loss whether he would like to return as Marshall’s coach if given the opportunity to do so.
Again, there was little response that leaned either direction.
“I’m trying to go see my family maybe for a little bit,” Holliday said. “You know what I mean? I need a chance to get away and see my family, which I hadn’t seen for a long time — the same way our players haven’t seen their families.”
The 2020 season has undoubtedly been one of the most taxing for coaches and players alike, given the protocols of 2020 in relation to COVID-19.
Players and coaches were away from their families constantly and undergoing tests, and there was the stop-start nature of the season, which took its toll.
Marshall’s season was more of a roller coaster than most, however, with the Herd winning its first seven games en route to a No. 15 ranking nationally.
However, the Herd fell in each of its last three games, a disappointing finish.
Holliday said that the issues in the final three losses were solely on his staff — not the players.
“That’s on our coaches and myself — not the players,” Holliday said. “This year, don’t ever blame the players for anything that’s happened in this season. Those kids went above and beyond everything they could possibly do.”
As Marshall ends its 2020 season, there is plenty of uncertainty in regard to its future — whether Holliday will return or wants to return, what changes may be made to the staff and what players may use their additional season granted by the NCAA to return.
Marshall senior safety Nazeeh Johnson, who had 11 tackles and an interception on Friday, did say that the coaching situation for 2021 will play a part in his decision as to returning to the program or not.
“It has a lot to do with that because he’s been my coach my whole career here,” Johnson said. “He actually gave me my chance, you know what I’m saying? I don’t know what that’s in store in the future, but all I know is I’ve still got the decision.”
ONE-SIDED FIELD: In the first half, play took part on just one end of the field, it seemed.
Buffalo ran 34 of its 41 offensive plays in Marshall territory in the first half, and Marshall did not cross into Buffalo territory until just over three minutes left before halftime.
Yet, the Herd only trailed, 10-7, as the teams went to their respective locker rooms.
FIRST STARTS: A pair of Marshall defenders made the most of their first career starts on Friday.
Linebacker Charlie Gray and safety Naquan Renalds each were a big part of the Herd defense during the loss to Buffalo.
Renalds finished with eight tackles and a pass breakup while Gray had six tackles for the Herd.
Linebacker Abraham Beauplan, who also moved to the weakside linebacker spot, finished with 10 tackles, including two tackles for loss.
MORE ABSENCES: Early in the week, it was announced that offensive tackle Josh Ball, linebacker Tavante Beckett and running back Brenden Knox would all miss while focusing on the 2021 NFL Draft.
However, the Herd was without three more starters, which were announced prior to the game.
Wide receiver Willie Johnson missed the game, along with safeties Brandon Drayton and Derrek Pitts.
Marshall’s 2020 policy concerning absences is to not disclose reasons for players missing games, but according to sources, none were due to opting out or COVID-19.
Drayton appeared to be on the sidelines in a sling.