James Madison's top-ranked team has been led by its defense, but credit the school's administration for going on the offensive with second-year coach Mike Houston to help counter interest from FBS schools.
Athletic director Jeff Bourne announced on Tuesday the university has agreed to a 10-year contract extension with Houston, 46, which will keep him with the Dukes through the 2027 season.
In January, James Madison won the 2016 FCS national championship to cap Houston's first season and gave him a restructured five-year contract through 2021. His Dukes are 13-0 this season and 27-1 over his two years in Harrisonburg, Virginia, heading into their FCS playoff semifinal against South Dakota State on Saturday.
"James Madison is a special place. Amanda, our boys and I want to be here and consider this home," Houston said. "JMU approached me in the second half of the regular season to discuss an extended contract. During negotiations, there was significant interest from multiple FBS programs. Throughout the process, JMU was proactive in wanting to make a long-term commitment while ensuring that our staff could remain intact. I've turned down opportunities at the FBS level, and I did it because I believe in James Madison University."
James Madison has won 25 games in a row, the longest active streak in Division I and the second-longest in FCS history.
The Dukes haven't lost a Colonial Athletic Association game in winning consecutive outright conference championships under Houston. The only loss in Houston's tenure was against an FBS opponent, 56-28 to North Carolina on Sept. 17, 2016.