Monday, April 21 head basketball coach Donnie Tyndall will leave Southern Miss and replace Cuonzo Martin as The University of Tennessee’s head basketball coach.
Southern Miss Director of Athletics Bill McGillis held a media briefing Tuesday morning regarding Coach Tyndall and the men’s basketball program. The briefing began with McGillis thanking Tyndall for his two years at Southern Miss and the impact he has had on this region, calling him one of a kind.
In Tyndall’s introductory press conference at The University of Tennessee, he made it a point to thank those at Southern Miss who helped him get to where he is today.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my president at Southern Miss, Dr. Rodney Bennett, and my athletic director there, Bill McGillis, whom I had a phenomenal relationship with,” Tyndall said. “They made this decision tough in one regard, but on the flip side, it’s The University of Tennessee and an opportunity that I’m so excited about.”
There is no preconceived notion on who the next USM coach is going to be, and the board of athletics believes they do not have to lock into a certain profile for a coach.
It took Tennessee exactly one week to find a new coach. It is seven days into the regular signing period for prospects so USM is bound to be swift as well.
“I’ll be going 24/7, and it will be closer to days than it is to weeks,” McGillis said regarding filling the USM head coach position. Many coaches and agents have already reached out to USM directly.
Southern Miss is already fully engaged in the search process. They are casting a wide net looking for a coach with a high level of integrity, who will bring an exciting style of play to this program, a proven record of success and an outstanding teacher.
Most importantly, McGillis wants a coach who is relentless in recruiting. “Part of the formula to success here is our head coach has to be addicted to recruiting,” McGillis said.
It is one thing to recruit players and another thing to develop the player once they step foot onto the USM campus. McGillis is looking for a complete coaching staff that has proven they can develop the talent Southern Miss has and will have in the future.
The next head coach will have to have a passion for coaching at Southern Miss. McGillis said that if he is not convinced with his heart that the coach is truly passionate about this program, there is no way he will hire him.
He said embracing the community is an essential ability the new coach must have, which is an aspect that Tyndall specialized in. It will take a coach that will branch out into the community and get the USM fan base fired up about basketball season. Overall, McGillis wants to find a leader of men.
When McGillis met with the members of the basketball team, the mood was somber, but there was no anger toward Tyndall for leaving.
McGillis was not surprised by Tyndall’s move. “With a coach like Donnie, who you know is an elite coach in (the) country, you have to accept that this day may come,” McGillis said.
McGillis is positive he will find the perfect coach for Southern Miss, and a coach that is ready to lead a championship level basketball program.