Jeff Bower had a big influence on new Southern Miss football coach Jay Hopson

Jeff Bower had a big influence on new Southern Miss football coach Jay Hopson

HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis hired Jay Hopson as the Golden Eagles new head football coach late Saturday. On Monday McGillis introduced Hopson at a news conference in Hattiesburg.

In four years at Alcorn State Hopson guided the Braves to 32 wins, 17 losses and back-to-back SWAC conference championships.

Bill McGillis announced, "Coach Hopson is the 21st head football coach at the University of Southern Mississippi."

Hopson said, "We're going to be consistent winners.  We're going to coach hard, recruit hard and we're going to have to build that foundation.  I'm from Mississippi and I know a lot of coaches in Mississippi and that foundation for me  is starting off with our high school programs here in the state of Mississippi.

He added, "But I promise you're going to have a staff, you're going to have a football team that is going to represent the University in the classroom, on the football field and socially. That's our goal with not further ado, Southern Miss to the top."

McGillis said he wanted to bring stability back to Southern Miss, much like the stability the Golden Eagles had for years under Bower.
Hopson thanked coach Bower and almost came to tears.  Golden Eagle fans gave Hopson a standing ovation.

Hopson said, "The standing ovation doesn't belong to me.  It should belong to coach Bower.  Coach you taught me so much and I'll never be able to repay you.  Not only for the things on the field but off the field lessons that you gave to me.  It was an important part for what I did at Alcorn and who I am as a football coach.  Again I love you and appreciate everything you did."

Later after the news conference Bower spoke highly of Hopson.

"He did such a great job for us and I just think the job he did at Alcorn State was remarkable. "stated Bower.  "If you really knew the inside story, what he inherited there and what he had to do to turn that program around it tells you a little bit about him.  He's a workaholic.  He's relentless, true to his goals and he is a players coach. They will love him."

McGillis said, "In the end the very best candidate and the right match for Southern Miss was Jay Hopson.  OK it was Jay Hopson.  This is a special man and a special head coach."

Jay Hopson signed a four-year deal valued at $500,000 each year but there are a number of built-in incentives that he can make a whole lot more money.

He can pock an additional $15,000 for each regular season victory over a team from the SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, or Pac 12.   Southern Miss will pay Hopson $35,000 if the Golden Eagles are ranked in the final season top 25.  Participation in one of the New Year's Six Bowls will give him a $100,000 bonus.  If if wins the game he'll take home an additional $100,000.

There are many other incentives that will add more money to his base salary, plus incentives if his players perform well in the classroom.

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