GREENVILLE, N.C. — Mike Houston is leaving James Madison and the Colonial Athletic Association to become the next football coach at East Carolina.

New ECU athletic director Jon Gilbert announced the hiring of Houston, who led James Madison to a 37-6 record, the 2016 Championship Subdivision national title and an appearance in the championship game in 2017.

The Dukes lost to Colgate on Saturday in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Houston also led James Madison to a 34-14 rout at East Carolina in the 2017 season opener.

He replaces Scottie Montgomery, fired last week during the Pirates’ third straight 3-9 season.

It initially looked like Houston was going to Charlotte. He publicly acknowledged last Wednesday that Charlotte had offered him the job to replace the fired Brad Lambert.

The next day – just 48 hours before kickoff of ECU’s season finale at North Carolina State – the Pirates abruptly fired Montgomery.

Charlotte Athletic Director Mike Hill then issued a statement Friday saying the school was withdrawing its offer to Houston.

James Madison announced Sunday that Houston was leaving for a head coaching position at an unnamed Bowl Subdivision school. Though it wasn’t official on Sunday, Charlotte was out and ECU was Houston’s destination.

“Mike made it perfectly clear to me this is the job he covets and he fully understands the tradition and prestige of Pirate football,” Gilbert said. “He is a man of high integrity, a great communicator and believes in molding student-athletes on and off the field.

“He’s going to be a great asset to our university and the Greenville community.”

SYRACUSE: Place-kicker Andre Szmyt won the Vlade Award, given annually to college football’s most accurate kicker.

Szmyt, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound redshirt freshman, leads the FBS in field goals made (28), field goals attempted (32), field goals per game (2.33), and points per game (11.8) and ranks second in the nation in scoring with a school-record 141 points.

AUBURN: Junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft, but plans to stay for the Tigers’ Music City Bowl matchup with Purdue on Dec. 28.

ALABAMA: Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.

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