Stockstill staying at Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill has decided to pass on an offer to become the new coach at East Carolina and will remain at the school.

The timing of the opening, so close to national signing day, played a role in the decision, Stockstill said in a statement released by Middle Tennessee.

"I could not look in the eyes of these recruits and their families and tell them the things I believe in and what I want them to believe in and then leave Middle Tennessee with only two weeks left in the recruiting process," Stockstill said. "Also, I have so much respect and admiration for our current players that they were ultimately the reason I could not pursue this any further. We have invested a lot together during these four years which played a major role in this decision."

Stockstill has a 27-23 record in four seasons at Middle Tennessee, of the Sun Belt. Known as an excellent recruiter, Stockstill at one time served as East Carolina's offensive coordinator.

East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland began work this weekend to find a new coach after Skip Holtz left for South Florida.

Holtz announced Thursday he was leaving behind a program he led to consecutive Conference USA championships and four straight bowl games. Holland said he has kept an informal list of 20 to 30 names in the back of his mind with the knowledge Holtz could one day leave for another job.

Joe Schad is a college football reporter for ESPN.