Southern Miss welcomes Monken as new head football coach
Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Updated: Saturday, December 15, 2012 11:12
“Christmas came early for Southern Miss,” said interim President Aubrey Lucas to a room of Golden Eagles faithful.
Athletic Director Jeff Hammond called it a return to toughness for the program as Southern Miss introduced their newest head football coach Tuesday afternoon. Fans, media, and university staff poured into the conference room to welcome Todd Monken and family to Hattiesburg.
Monken, like former Eagles’ coach Larry Fedora, comes to Southern Miss from Oklahoma State University where he served as their offensive coordinator. The Wheaten, Illinois native has taken a long journey to Southern Miss with stops at Oklahoma State twice, Louisiana State, Louisiana Tech, Notre Dame, and the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL.
Monken was the offensive coordinator for Oklahoma State for the last two seasons after leaving his position at Jacksonville. During his first season, the Cowboys set school single-season records for points scored, touchdowns scored, first downs, pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, completion percentage, touchdown passes, yards per play, and third-down conversions behind the arm of quarterback Brandon Weeden and the hands of wide receiver Justin Blackman.
After losing Weeden and Blackman in the first round of the NFL draft, Monken and the Cowboys didn’t miss a step and were ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring, total offense, and passing offense. They played three quarterbacks this season and all three crossed the 1,000 yard passing plateau during their time on the field. Oklahoma State was also second in the Big XII in rushing.
This is the first time Monken will have the title of head coach but he comes from a long line of coaching that he’ll lean on during his tenure. His father and four uncles were all high school head coaches and are all members of the Illinois High School Hall of Fame. His brother is a head coach at a high school in Illinois and his cousin is the head coach at Georgia Southern.
“I’m looking forward, with great confidence, to the future,” said Monken. “I got to meet with the team and I’m ready to start right now. I can see it in their eyes, they didn’t forget how to win and how to work and how to compete.”
Coach Monken did not shed light on how he would fill the rest of his staff but he did share that he would call plays and coach the quarterbacks. The Eagles will be an up-tempo team that is mostly non-huddle and will accent the strengths of the players.
Defensively, Monken is looking to create a style of active defense that flies to the ball and attacks the quarterback. Pressuring the quarterback will be of high importance for this coaching staff and successful defense will be one that creates fear in the opposition.
“He’s here to score points, we’re going to air it out and have fun,” said freshman running back Jalen Richard. “Coming off of last season we were kind of in a funk. After meeting with Coach Monken, everybody’s energy just up and I think that’s just really good. Everyone’s going home for the holidays with a smile on their face.”
“Anyone have ‘Monken Mania’ yet?” asked Bob Pearce the chairman of the coaching search committee. Whether fans have caught it or not, it looks like “Monken Mania” has arrived at Southern Miss and, if Tuesday’s press conference is any indication, fans need to strap in and hold on.