Lenoir-Rhyne confirms Houston's departure as coach

Lenoir-Rhyne University released a statement Wednesday confirming the departure of head football coach Mike Houston.

In the statement released at 11:21 a.m., school officials said the following:

"Coach Mike Houston has announced his resignation from the head coaching position at Lenoir-Rhyne University to accept the head coaching job at The Citadel. Though the entire Lenoir-Rhyne community will miss him tremendously, we are excited for coach Houston as he embarks on the next phase of his coaching journey. It has always been a goal of Mike's to coach at a DI school, and The Citadel provides that opportunity. He has had a very successful tenure at LR, and we wish he and his family all the best as they head to Charleston."

According to multiple media reports, Houston has been named the new head football coach at The Citadel, replacing Kevin Higgins, but no official announcement has been made by the school as of noon Wednesday.

Higgins resigned from the Bulldogs head coaching post on Dec. 16, 2013 to accept a position on the staff of new Wake Forest head football coach Dave Clawson.

Higgins will serve as an assistant on the Demon Deacon's staff, coaching wide receivers.

The Bears are coming off the heels of a 13-2 season in which they finished as the NCAA Div. II runners-up.

It was only the fourth time in program history that LR had been to a National Championship game and its first at the Div. II level. The previous three appearances (1959-60, 1962) were in NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics).

The search for a new head football coach at Lenoir-Rhyne starts immediately. The next leader of the Bears will be the 19th head coach in program's 107-year history.

The school echoed the praise of its football team in the statement, adding that "Lenoir-Rhyne's football program has risen to a position of national recognition, and it is considered to be one of the premier programs in the country. We are confident that we can find another leader to maintain our expectations of excellence. The search for a new coach will begin immediately."