College Sports

Former Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower 'honored' to be added to College Football Playoff committee

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD 
 Former Southern Miss football coach Jeff Bower will be inducted into the Mississippi Sport Hall of Fame. Bower led the Golden Eagles to a 119-83-1 record over 17 seasons (1990-2007) which included 15 winning seasons during his tenure.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD Former Southern Miss football coach Jeff Bower will be inducted into the Mississippi Sport Hall of Fame. Bower led the Golden Eagles to a 119-83-1 record over 17 seasons (1990-2007) which included 15 winning seasons during his tenure. TIM ISBELL

Jeff Bower's list of impressive accomplishments continues to grow eight years after he coached his final game.

The former Southern Miss football coach was one of four men named to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee on Thursday.

"I'm very honored to be a part of this elite group," Bower said Thursday in a phone interview from Atlanta. "We have a big decision to make in regard to the playoff and all that. It's an honor. There's a lot of work to do, but it should be interesting."

The other three selected for the committee are former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, former Central Michigan head coach Herb Deromedi and Oregon State athletic director Rob Mullens.

Bower, a former USM quarterback, served as head coach for the Golden Eagles from 1990-2007 with a career record of 119-83-1.

Bower, who lives in Hattiesburg, led USM to 14 straight winning seasons and four Conference USA titles - 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2003.

Bower said the CFP Management Committee reached out to him a couple of times over the last two months to talk about his potential involvement.

"We are delighted that Jeff, Lloyd, Herb and Rob are joining the committee," CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a press release. "Throughout the selection process, it was essential that the four new members have an in-depth knowledge and passion for college football. Each of these four fit that description perfectly. They will continue the high integrity of the committee."

Bower hasn't been coaching college football the last eight years, but he has stayed on top of the game.

"I've watched a lot of games over the weekends. I haven't given up on doing that," Bower said.

The 62-year-old Bower looks forward to being involved in the game after watching mostly from his living room in recent years.

"It's going to be interesting," he said. "It's a lot of responsibility. You're going to be doing your homework and doing the job best you can. That excites me."

The four new members will replace Mike Gould, Pat Haden, Tom Osborne and Mike Tranghese, charter members of the committee whose terms expired after the 2015-16 season. Each of the new members will begin a three-year term this spring.

The head coaching careers of Carr and Bower took place in the same era with each coaching their last game in 2007, but they never met on the football field.

The two men have had most of their interaction in a couple of golf tournaments, but Bower recalls a time when he had to reach out to Carr when he was a member of NCAA Football Rules Committee.

"We had an open date the first week of the season, which means we would have went straight through the season without a week off," Bower said. "We had to petition the NCAA for permission to do it. They told us we couldn't use it as an open week. Well, that doesn't make sense for obvious reasons. We would have had less practice time. Lloyd helped us get a waiver on that."

The CFP Selection Committee meets weekly in person during the season and produces a poll ranking the top 25 teams at the midway point of the season. After the season is over, the committee meets again to choose teams for the four-team College Football Playoff and the other major bowls.

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