Earlier in the day we wrote that the math at Southern Miss seemed to add up to the Golden Eagles hiring Jay Hopson as its next head coach… and soon.
By Saturday night, they had done just that.
Southern Miss announced Hopson’s hiring through athletics director Bill McGillis‘ Twitter account, ending a whirlwind week that started with then-head coach Todd Monken bolting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On the surface, Hopson seems like the best hire the Eagles could have made, especially given the circumstances. A native Mississippian, Hopson played at Ole Miss and Delta State and spent nearly his entire life in the South, including a run from 2005-07 as Southern Miss’ defensive coordinator. His Golden Eagles defenses earned a reputation as an aggressive bunch that was among the best in college football at taking the ball way.
Hopson spent the past four seasons as the head coach at Alcorn Sate, taking a Braves program that was 10-22 in the three years prior to his arrival to back-to-back SWAC East Division championships. Overall, Hopson was 32-17 in his four seasons with the program, including 28-10 in the final three years.
Though Monken did leave the program at the most inopportune of times, there’s no denying the program sits in much better shape than he found it. After winning the Conference USA title in 2011, Southern Miss bottomed out to 1-23 over the 2012-13 seasons before rebounding to 3-9 a year ago and 9-5 this fall, including a reappearance in the Conference USA title game.
It is Saturday afternoon, inside of 100 hours to National Signing Day, and Southern Miss does not have a head coach.
The school was put in this particular lurch when head coach Todd Monken bailed Sunday for an assistant job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and on Saturday Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports the Golden Eagles’ top candidate — Doug Nussmeier, currently Florida’s offensive coordinator and previously the offensive play-caller at Alabama and Michigan — is now out of the running.
Feldman also reported there is “strong support” in Hattiesburg for Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson.
Hopson is 32-17 in four seasons at Alcorn State, but 19-7 in his last two, with SWAC East Division titles to cap each campaign. Hopson is a Mississippi native that played at Ole Miss and Division II Delta State and, save for stints at Marshall and Michigan, spent his entire life in the South — including a three-year run as the Golden Eagles’ defensive coordinator from 2005-07.
With the clock tick-tick-ticking, it’s a good bet Southern Miss gets something done today.
It appears Todd Graham may not have to far losing yet another offensive coordinator after all.
Reports surfaced Monday indicating that Arizona State offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey was “engaged in significant discussion” regarding the head-coaching job at Southern Miss. That position came after Todd Monken, Lindsey’s former boss, abruptly left over the weekend to take an offensive coordinator job in the NFL.
It was expected that Lindsey would make a decision in 24 hours or so. Based on one well-placed report, the decision has been made.
On Twitter as well, Lindsey seemed to indicate that he would be staying with the Sun Devils as well.
Lindsey was hired away from Southern Miss this past December to replace Mike Norvell, who left to become the head coach at Memphis. Lindsey had spent the past two seasons as Monken’s coordinator before leaving for the Sun Devils.
Todd Graham has already lost one offensive coordinator during the latest spinning of the coaching carousel, with Mike Norvell leaving to become the head coach at Memphis. Now, Graham could be losing Norvell’s replacement.
Coming off the surprising announcement this weekend that Todd Monken had left his job as head coach at Southern Miss for a position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now, FootballScoop.com is reporting, Graham’s new offensive coordinator, Chip Lindsey, has been “engaged in significant discussions” to replace Monken.
From the coaching website:
Lindsey, sources tell FootballScoop, is weighing the option including considering the ramifications of the timing of accepting the opportunity. There is a possibility, we hear, of this lingering a bit longer than expected but will be pressure to make it happen.
Lindsey was hired away from Southern Miss to replace Norvell this past December. Lindsey had spent the past two seasons as Monken’s coordinator before leaving for the Sun Devils.
The Southern Miss job would be Lindsey’s first at the collegiate level in a coaching career that stretches back to 1997.
A week and a half before Signing Day, Southern Miss is looking for a new head coach. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Sunday that Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken will be the club’s offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.
Monken reunites with Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, whom he coached under as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ wide receivers coach before nabbing the Oklahoma State offensive coordinator job in 2010.
“I am very excited to add a coach with the type of experience and tenacity that Todd brings,” Koetter said in a statement. “I have always been impressed with his approach to the game as well as his ability to teach concepts and get the best out of his players. During his more than 25-year coaching career, he has made a name for himself as a very successful offensive coordinator and head coach on the collegiate level. Todd also happens to be a terrific receivers coach with a proven track record of helping his players reach their true potential. We are fortunate to have him join our staff.”
In his three seasons in Hattiesburg Monken pulled a proud Southern Miss program out of the ditch he found it in, rebounding from an 0-12 mark the year prior to his arrival to 1-11 in 2013, 3-9 in 2014 and then 9-5 this fall, leading the Golden Eagles to a Conference USA West Division crown and an appearance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Monken becomes the fourth Group of Five head coach in recent years to leave for an assistant coaching job, following UAB’s Garrick McGee (Louisville offensive coordinator), Central Michigan’s Dan Enos (Arkansas offensive coordinator) and Ball State’s Pete Lembo (Maryland assistant head coach/special teams coordinator).
As for Southern Miss? They’ll move quickly. They have no other choice.