Tuesday evening update> Charlotte has now announced the hire.
Austin Peay head coach Will Healy is expected to accept the same role at Charlotte, Bruce Feldman has tweeted this morning.
Charlotte AD Mike Hill announced Friday morning it had withdrew its offer to Houston.
We reported Friday the search had pivoted to Healy:
Charlotte pivoted to Will Healy this morning sources told FootballScoop. Two additional candidates at the end here….https://t.co/pZdGgpLDhl
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) November 30, 2018
“This morning we withdrew a contract offer that had been negotiated in good faith with Coach Houston and his representatives,” Hill said. “This was based on the fact that last evening, Coach Houston informed us that he had interest in exploring other head coaching opportunities, while remaining in consideration here.”
The 33-year-old Healy just completed his third season as Austin Peay’s head coach. He shot to stardom in 2017 when leading Austin Peay, a program that was 1-45 in its previous four seasons & 14-87 in its last nine, to an 8-3 mark and the cusp of an FCS playoffs berth. The Governors went 5-6 in 2018.
Healy has drawn comparisons to Dabo Swinney in making energy and encouragement the hallmarks of Austin Peay’s turnaround, where body language has been equally important as Xs and Os. From Pete Thamel’s profile of Healy in September:
What’s different? There are cameras at practice solely focused on players’ body language. There’s mandatory exuberance after big plays captured by an end zone celebration camera. And overall, there’s a coaching philosophy more focused on the person than the player, as Healy preaches etiquette more than execution. Healy is such a stickler for manners that he makes his 3-year-old son, Eli, say please to the family’s Amazon Alexa device. “I don’t mind being different,” Healy said. “I think we hold our players accountable, but you don’t have to cuss ’em up one leg and down the other to do it.”
Here’s an interview FootballScoop did with Healy last season.
“If there’s one thing I’ve done right, I’ve hired right. I’ve surrounded myself with people who would not let me fail,” Healy said. “They’re all really good friends as well. Our staff is very close. We spend a lot of time together outside of football. Our families are very close. Kids and wives are around all the time, and I think creating that family environment and making sure that everybody is supportive of one another is very important when you’re going through a rebuilding process, for us just a building process.”
Prior to Austin Peay, Healy spent six seasons as an assistant at Chattanooga.
In Charlotte, Healy is set to take over one of the best high-ceiling young programs in the Group of 5. The 49ers, who played their first season in 2013, play in the 5-year-old, on-campus Richardson Stadium and are located in one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the country with a hundreds of recruits in a 300-mile radius from Charlotte, stretching down to Atlanta and up into Virginia.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.