Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken has hired former Auburn assistant Chip Lindsey to take over as the program's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Lindsey served as offensive analyst this past season at Auburn in an off-the-field capacity after previously working as the head coach at Spain Park High School in Hoover, Ala.
At Spain Park, Lindsey coached returning USM starting quarterback Nick Mullens, a rising sophomore.
Mullens threw for 3,649 yards and 40 touchdowns as a senior 2012 in Spain Park, and his experience in Lindsey's offense helped him earn early playing time at USM.
The offense that Lindsey has been running for several years now is very similar to Monken's pass-oriented spread scheme.
“I wouldn't say they're identical, but 95 percent of what I did at Spain Park and Troy is what Monken did at Oklahoma State, and he then came to Southern Miss,” Lindsey said. “Definitely, I think it was definitely a factor (in coming to USM).”
Lindsey has experience at the college level, working as the quarterbacks coach at Troy in 2010.
Prior to joining Troy, he had a successful 10-year stint on the high school level in Georgia and Alabama.
Lindsey replaces Marcus Arroyo, who is now quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Lindsey plans on getting to work at USM following the Feb. 5 signing day.
While Lindsey's hiring may appear as more of a commitment to Mullens as the USM starting quarterback, the new offensive coordinator made the point that he wants to build an offense that will suit whoever is behind center.
“I haven't coached Nick in over a year now, and I'm excited about that,” Lindsey said. “It's college football I have to make sure we do a good job with all the quarterbacks.”
What was Mullens' reaction to finding out that his former high school will now be his USM offensive coordinator?
“He seemed excited to me,” Lindsey said. “He probably also knows I'm going to get after him pretty good. It'll probably be good for him to hear a familiar voice, but Nick knows what he's going to get. I've got to get to know all the quarterbacks and coach them all hard. We've got to play the best guy. Nick knows he's got things to improve on and and I know all the guys will chomping at the bit to get on practice field.”
Monken got to know Lindsey during his recruitment of Mullens, and that relationship continued to grow after he took the job at Auburn.
“Since that time, we've kind of stayed in touch and talked some football,” Lindsey said. “I came to Auburn a month after we met, and we kept up with each other, wishing each other luck.”
While Lindsey was in California preparing with the rest of the Auburn staff for the national title game against Florida State, he received a call from Monken after Arroyo informed him that he would be leaving for an NFL job. Monken asked if he was interested in the USM offensive coordinator position, and Lindsey's response was “definitely.”
“I'm extremely excited and thankful for this opportunity that coach Monken has given me,” Lindsey said. “It's definitely kind of a next step in my career, and I can't think of a better guy to do it with.”