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Report: Pruett To Coach Houston

December 10, 1999

HOUSTON (AP) _ Bob Pruett, who guided Marshall to an undefeated regular season this year and a Division I-AA national title in 1996, is leaving to become coach at Houston, according to a broadcast report.

KRIV-TV reported Thursday that Pruett will be hired to replace Kim Helton, who was fired two weeks ago.

Pruett coached No. 11 Marshall to a 12-0 record this year and a berth in the Motor City Bowl against BYU on Dec. 27. In 1996, Marshall went 15-0 and won the Division I-AA championship.

Pruett, who spent four years at Marshall, has led the Thundering Herd to a 34-4 record since the school moved up to Division I-A three years ago.

Two weeks ago, Pruett, 57, signed a seven-year contract extension with Marshall. That contract would pay him $132,000 per year, plus additional income from television and radio programs.

The contract includes a buyout clause if Pruett decides to leave Marshall before 2006.

Pruett was in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday night and not immediately available for comment. Marshall athletic director Lance West also was out of town, said Jake Keyes, Marshall’s assistant sports information director

Keyes said the school couldn’t immediately comment on the report.

After signing his contract extension, Pruett said he might stay at Marshall for the rest of this coaching career.

``That’s the plan. You never say never, either,″ he said Nov. 24. ``Nobody ever said I was leaving. Since I’ve been here I’ve always looked for reasons to stay at Marshall. This is where I went to school. We’re just happy we worked this out and ended any speculation before there is anything to speculate about.″

Under Pruett, Marshall entered The Associated Press Top 25 this season for the first time in school history and has a 16-game winning streak, tops in Division I-A.

He has led the Thundering Herd to three straight Mid-American Conference championships.

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