After Southern Miss completed it's first winless season since 1925, failing to pick up a victory in 12 games, Southern Miss Director of Athletics Jeff Hammond announced that Golden Eagles head football coach Ellis Johnson will not be retained, after one season on the job.
University President Dr. Lucas accepted the recommendation and Ellis Johnson was notified of the decision this morning.
In a statement issued by Hammond he said...."At Southern Miss we expect to compete hard and succeed both in the classroom & on the field. At Southern Miss we expect to compete hard and succeed both in the classroom and on the field."
Southern Miss linebacker Alan Howze of Ocean Springs commented on the today's firing.
He said, "Personally I thought we were going to get the second chance. I'm not going to say I never saw him leaving but I thought he was going to come in here and be able to work it as another unit just to prove ourselves that we're a different team or what not."
Hammond said a search for a new head coach is underway and the goal is to seek a dynamic leader to lead the Golden Eagles back to prominence.
Here's are some names under consideration: former Southern Miss and present North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken, Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown and Louisiana-Monroe head coach Todd Berry. Even former Southern Miss, South Carolina and Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix could be in the running.
If Ellis Johnson was fired alumni and fans were ready to hold a protect today in Hattiesburg. So tensions were high and Hammond said, "We must unite and come together as one through this transition period. Please let dignity, respect and love for Our Great University be our watchwords."
Reportedly Blake Anderson is interested in the Golden Eagles vacancy and if I was picking a head coach he would be signed as soon as possible. He was the front runner for the job last season before Johnson was hired.
Anderson runs a wide-open offensive attack, one that set records while he was at Southern Miss. Recruiting is crucial and he would help bring in quality players.
If Anderson doesn't pan out I believe Louisiana-Monroe head coach Todd Berry would be an excellent choice. We all know what he did this past season in knocking off Arkansas and nearly beating Auburn. He also runs a wide-open offensive attack.
Unfortunately the college football game can be brutal and Ellis Johnson just couldn't get the Golden Eagles off the ground. Johnson is a nice guy and when a team goes winless it's tough to justify a return.
We wish the best for coach Johnson and his family. He was an excellent defensive coordinator and I'm sure he'll be picked up by a big-time university.@
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