Southern Miss begins search for football coach
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 01:12
When a coach goes 0-12 in his first season as head football coach at Southern Miss, ending the consecutive winning season streak and the consecutive bowl game streak, he does not get to keep your job. Ellis Johnson found this out the hard way when he was fired last week.
The search for Johnson’s replacement has already begun, as a search committee has been set in place. The nine-person committee consists of Southern Miss Athletic Director Jeff Hammond and other key figures involved in the athletic department: Dennis Phillips of the Sports Management program; booster Nick Welch; former Golden Eagle players Reggie Collier and Sammy Winder; and Jeremy McClain, among others.
Several potential candidates have been rumored to be in the mix. Here is my list of eight potential candidates (in no particular order) that could end up in Hattiesburg soon.
(Offensive Coordinator, North Carolina)
Pros: He is the current offensive coordinator for former USM coach Larry Fedora and Anderson ran the offense at USM for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. While at Southern Miss, Anderson’s offense was one of the best in the nation and many of Fedora’s (and Anderson’s) recruits are still on campus.
Cons: No head coaching experience. Like many on this list, Anderson is young and hasn’t had any head coaching experience. Also, one has to wonder how the defense will look under Anderson, as the defense will be one of the most talked about aspects of the team this offseason.
(former Arkansas Head Coach)
Pros: Bobby Petrino would bring an immediate boost to the program. His record speaks for itself, as he is 75-26 in his career as a head coach with two BCS game appearances and three top-10 teams. With the talent that is already on campus, Petrino could get the Eagles back on track in a year.
Cons: Everyone knows the baggage that comes along with hiring Petrino. Leaving Louisville and Atlanta like he did and the recent off the field issues at Arkansas would make one wonder if it is worth dealing with everything. If he found success early at USM, and kept clean, he wouldn’t be at USM long before he jumped ship for a larger, automatic-qualifying school.
Todd Monken (Offensive Coordinator, Oklahoma State)
Pros: Monken’s offense puts up numbers. The fifth ranked overall offense, fourth ranked scoring offense, and seventh ranked passing offense is the main reason he is so appealing. Oklahoma State played three quarterbacks this season and all three posted 1,000 yard passing seasons. Also, let’s not forget that this is the same situation Fedora was in before he came to USM.
Cons: Similar to Anderson, Monken has no head coaching experience and the defense would still be a question. Monken also has very little experience as a coordinator, spending on the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator and the rest of his career as a position coach.
(Offensive Coordinator, Texas Tech)
Pros: Brown is another offensive coordinator with another potent offense. Brown coached the second ranked passing offense, the 12th ranked total offense, and the 16th ranked scoring offense in the country this season. Brown has spent five seasons as an offensive coordinator- two at Troy, and three at Texas Tech.
Cons: Once again, no head coaching experience. Although he has more experience than Monken, he is still relatively young on the coaching scene. Defense is once against a question as he is an offensive mind.
(Head Coach, UT-Martin)
Pros: Prior to Simpson taking the UT-Martin job, the program was at rock bottom having lost 45 consecutive games. Simpson got the program straightened out. Simpson’s .569 winning percentage looks impressive considering the situation he inherited. Simpson is also an Ellisville native, and a former baseball standout for the Golden Eagles.
Cons: While his offense was ranked in the top 30 in the FCS, his defense was ranked 79th. Simpson has had several toped ranked offenses, but rarely is his defense very impressive.
(Head Coach, IU Pennsylvania)
Pros: While only at the Division II level, Cignetti has made an immediate impact for IU Pennsylvania. In his two seasons at the school, Cignetti is 19-4, including 10-1 this season. A former Alabama wide receiver coach (2007-2010), Cignetti has spent time under some impressive coaches in his career. His is a defensive minded coach with the number one ranked defense in Division II.