Southern Miss

USM BLOG: Search for new coach narrows

5:04 p.m. UPDATE: The Daily Oklahoman reports this afternoon that Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken will be announced Tuesday as the new Southern Miss football coach.

Monken served previously as an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars, LSU, Louisiana Tech and Eastern Michigan.

With interviews well under way in the search for a new coach at Southern Miss, it's apparent that the list of candidates for the job is becoming more focused.

Former Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown was considered a serious candidate for the opening at USM until he was announced today as the new offensive coordinator at Kentucky.

For Brown, it's a return to the school where he started his playing career as a walk-on receiver in former UK coach Hal Mumme's wide open offense. He later transferred to UMass to finish his playing career.

The buzz at USM now centers around a group of three candidates - North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken and Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz.

There's the possibility that there is another candidate or two very much in the mix, but those three men stand out as the most likely options at the moment.

Athletic director Jeff Hammond started the search process with the goal of having a coach in place by Dec. 19.

Other coaches who have been tied to the job opening include: Ohio State defensive coordinator Everett Withers, Tennessee-Martin coach Jason Simpson, Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, UL-Lafayette offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and Middle Tennessee State defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix.