In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Rick Stockstill has apparently decided to turn down an opportunity to take over for Skip Holtz at East Carolina and instead stay at Middle Tennessee State.
According to the Daily News Journal, Stockstill notified ECU officials this morning that he would remain at MTSU.
As previously reported, Stockstill interviewed for the vacancy on Sunday, and was offered the job shortly thereafter.
If this report is true, Stockstill would be the second head coach to turn down a shot at being Holtz’s replacement; Temple’s Al Golden was reportedly athletic director Terry Holland’s top choice, but pulled out of the running before any type of pursuit became even remotely heated.
Just where ECU turns to now remains uncertain, although we’re hearing Bowling Green’s Dave Clawson could suddenly become a very viable option. Grambling State’s Rod Broadway could also find himself very much in the mix as well.
UPDATE 10:46 a.m. ET: As I was typing this post, an email came in from MTSU confirming that Stockstill has indeed decided to stay at the school. Here’s a statement credited to Stockstill on his decision:
“I am very humbled and appreciative of the interest East Carolina University has shown in me about their head coaching position. 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.
“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. They gave me a chance to be a head coach four years ago and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.”