No Breaks for Southern Miss Football
After coming off of a nine win season with appearances in the C-USA Championship Game and a Bowl game in Dallas, former Head Coach Todd Monken decided to coach again on the sidelines of the NFL. Monken will be calling plays as the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Bucs under New Head Coach Dirk Koetter. Monken in his resignation was very emotional in the press conference.
After much reflection, we decided that this was a position I couldn’t pass up,” Monken said.
“I have to thank Dr. Aubrey Lucas, Jeff Hammond, Bill McGillis and Dr. Rodney Bennett,” said Monken. “They saw our vision, and where our program was headed, and their support never wavered.”
Monken began choking back tears as he spoke of his confidence in the department in finding a replacement, and thanked the university once again.”
“Thank you for the chance to be a Golden Eagle.”
Athletic Director Bill McGillis was very disappointed in the announcement but is confident that a successor will be found to continue the direction that the program is heading. It is unclear just how much USM offered Monken to stay on as Head Coach.
Eagles will return a handful of starters both on offensive and defensive. One being Senior QB Nick Mullens who passed for over 4400 yards and 38 TD’s in 14 games in 2015. Mullens was only picked off 12 times and had a 63.5 completion ratio.
Junior RB Ito Smith also returns after rushing for 1128 yards and 10 TDs in 2015. Smith averaged 6.6 yards a carry in 2015.
Defensively at Strong Safety is Senior D’Nerius Antoine who accounted for over 100 tackles both assisted and unassited.
It’s hard to believe that a head coach would leave his team when there is so much talent returning. Eagle Fans for the most part were very excited that Monken was getting the opportunity to coach in the NFL.
But the timing couldn’t be worse for USM. There is a chance that USM will not have a head coach on signing day.
You cannot blame a coach for leaving for a lot more money however, USM needs to protect its interests with the next hire. The contract should have a protection clause that says if the coach leaves during the 2 month period prior to signing day he has to pay the university a buy-out.
A coach leaving is one thing, but at a critical time like national signing day, a school has a right to protect itself. Monken did a great job at USM, but USM also gave him his very first head coaching job so it goes both ways…Really tough spot to be in.
Also departed is former OC Chip Lindsey who took the same position at Arizona State. Director of Operations John Carr took a coaching position with Steve Buckley at Jones Junior College as Wide Receivers Coach. Buckley is also a former USM Coach but not under Monken.
Current Defensive Coordinator David Duggan appears to be the leading candidate for Southern Miss head coaching spot and would make some sense. Duggan did work on former USM Coach Larry Fedora’s staff and now Monkens. Duggan is familiar with Mississippi and has had a big hand in recruiting. The defense was better in 2015.
But USM has not had the best of luck promoting defensive coordinators to head coach. Former Eagles head coach Ellis Johnson destroyed the Eagle Football program prior to Monken being hired. Johnson went 0-12 as USM’s head coach in 2012.
Johnson was fired immediately after the last game but was apparently already hired back at Auburn as DC before completing his coaching debacle at Southern Miss.
The Eagles were 12-2 in 2011 and had 18 consecutive winning seasons before the hiring of Johnson.
Hopefully Southern Miss will make the right hire in a short time and not make a hasty hire. Eagle fans do not want a repeat of 0-12, 1-11, 3-9 in 2012-2014.
If all the players return and USM holds on to their recruits, 2016 could be a fantastic year. On the schedule is SEC teams Kentucky and LSU. If USM upsets one of them and cruises through C-USA, another championship game could be in the Horizon. #ToTheTop
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