football Edit

Herd Coach Bob Pruett retires

Marshall University Head Football Coach Bob Pruett, one of the most successful coaches in college football history, announced his decision to retire from coaching, Wednesday.
"It is just time. I love Marshall University, the administration, the fans, that state of West Virginia, all of it...and I always will," Pruett said. "My friends in coaching have always said you will know when the time comes and all of you will know when your time comes, too. I have been coaching football for 40 years, and it is time that I spend more time with my family and be a fan."
"Bob Pruett is the greatest coach in the history of Marshall University football," Marshall Interim President Michael J. Farrell said. "I regret that he has decided to retire and wish him well."
Pruett, 61, amassed a 94-23 record in his nine years at the helm of his alma-mater's football program. His win total of 94 is the second highest total through nine season's in Division 1-A history (only George Woodruff with 114 has won more and that was more than a century ago), and his winning percentage of .803 is currently higher than any active coach with at least eight years experience in the country.
Marshall's record on the field under Pruett is remarkable, and so is the Thundering Herd's graduation rate. Six times in the last eight seasons the Herd has been recognized by the American Football Coaches Association for a graduation rate of 70 percent or higher. That figure shows the importance the Marshall program, and its head coach, places on getting an education.
"What ever coach Pruett wants to do, he has earned, and deserves," Marshall University Director of Athletics Bob Marcum said. "He is one of the greatest coaches in the history of college football and we regret that he has decided to retire. We wish him nothing but the very best."
Pruett was just the second coach in history to have posted 15 victories in his first season as a head coach and was just the second to have posted an undefeated and untied record in his first season. The two gentlemen who accomplished those feats first were George Woodruff and the legendary Walter Camp, in 1892 and 1888 respectively.
Pruett's 25-3 record after two seasons at Marshall ranks second all-time in college football history; only Camp's 25-1 mark from1888-89 could better it. His record of 37-4 after three seasons ranks him third, again behind only Camp and Woodruff, on the all-time coaching list.
After posting a perfect 13-0 season in 1999, his fourth at the helm of the Thundering Herd, Pruett's career mark of 50-4 stood third all-time. Only Camp and Woodruff, who both coached in the 19th century, had more wins after four seasons than Pruett.
After leading the Herd to a record fourth consecutive Mid-American Conference title in 2000 with an 8-5 mark, Pruett's career record stood at 58-9. Only Camp and Woodruff tallied more victories in their first five years.
The wins continued to pile up during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. The Herd put together 11-2 marks both years, improving Pruett's career mark to 80-13, moving him into second in NCAA history in terms of victories over the first seven seasons as a head coach. Only Woodruff, who was 94-6 in his first seven years (1892-1898) at Penn can compare to Pruett.
In 2003, Pruett guided Marshall to an 8-4 mark that was highlighted by a historic 27-20 victory at then sixth-ranked, and eventual Big 12 Conference Champion, Kansas State. The Wildcats became the highest ranked opponent ever to fall to a Mid-American Conference opponent that day.
In 2004, Pruett led the Thundering Herd program to its 21st consecutive non-losing season with a 6-6 mark, the fourth longest active streak in the nation, and a berth in the PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl.
While the wins have been plentiful, it has been the Herd's performance under Pruett when a championship is on the line that has been most impressive. In 22 games that have decided either a Division, Conference, Bowl or National championship, Pruett's teams are an amazing 18-4, which means the Thundering Herd wins those championship games more than 82 percent of the time.
Pruett has built a successful program that not only produces champions and graduates, but National Football League Draft picks and players.
Following the 2003 season, Marshall's Darius Watts was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. Watts is the 12th player to be drafted under Pruett and is now one of 20 former Marshall standouts currently playing in the NFL. In fact, at least one Marshall player has been picked in the last five NFL Drafts and Pruett has seen more than 30 of his student-athletes go on to NFL camps.
Without a doubt, Bob Pruett played a major role in building a nationally-recognized major college football program at Marshall University.
Marcum announced that quarterbacks coach and associate offensive coordinator Larry Kueck will serve as interim coach until a permanent replacement is named.
"This is bitter sweet, because Bob is such a good friend and a great football coach," Kueck said. "We are going to move forward and start spring practice on time this Friday. I am very grateful for the opportunity."
The Thundering Herd opens Spring Practice on Friday with a 3 p.m. workout at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.