Sports

Southern Miss hires Alcorn State's Jay Hopson as new head coach

ROGELO SOLIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS 
 Alcorn State football coach Jay Hopson is regarded as a serious candidate to take the same position at Southern Miss.
ROGELO SOLIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS Alcorn State football coach Jay Hopson is regarded as a serious candidate to take the same position at Southern Miss. AP

Southern Miss has hired Alcorn State's Jay Hopson as its new head football coach.

USM athletic director Bill McGillis announced the news on his Twitter account just after 8 p.m. Saturday night.

Hopson replaces former coach Todd Monken, who stepped down last week to become the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A press conference introducing Hopson to USM fans will take place Monday at a time to be determined.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reported Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who was labeled the top candidate, pulled out Saturday. Middle Tennessee defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix also decided to end his candidacy, according to CoachingSearch.com.

That put the target squarely on Hopson entering Saturday afternoon.

National Signing Day is set for Wednesday, putting pressure on Hopson to help close the deal on recruits who may be waffling due to uncertainty in the football program.

Hopson's hiring marks the third stint at USM for the former Ole Miss football player.

Hopson served as defensive backs coach for Jeff Bower in 2001-03 and returned to Bower's USM staff in 2006-07, working as the team's defensive coordinator.

He worked at Michigan as linebackers coach in 2008-09 and served as defensive coordinator at Memphis in 2010-11.

It was at Memphis where Hopson's career hit a rough patch. He became the scapegoat for a pair of lopsided losses to Mississippi State and Arkansas State to start the 2011 season and was fired after just two games. Memphis head coach Larry Porter was fired at the end of the 2011 season after two years of 3-21 football.

Hopson resurrected his coaching career at Alcorn State, becoming the first white head coach in the history of the SWAC in 2012. It was a controversial move by Alcorn State administration, but the decision paid off in a big way for the historically black university located in Lorman.

Hopson was 32-17 in four years at Alcorn State, including a record of 28-10 over the last three years. The Braves won SWAC championships in each of the last two seasons.

Hopson also has an interesting personal story, twice overcoming battles with testicular cancer.

Hopson will also have to decide whether he wants to retain current members of the staff who are holdovers from Monken's three-year tenure.

  Comments