Southern Miss

The wait continues at Southern Miss, but buzz surrounds 2 candidates


Twitter: @Patrick_Magee

Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson, a 2-time SWAC champion, is considered a serious candidate for the Southern Miss job.
ERIC CHRISTIAN SMITH/ASSOCIATED PRESS Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson, a 2-time SWAC champion, is considered a serious candidate for the Southern Miss job.

Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis said Sunday that he planned to have a new head football coach in place before this weekend.

As of 6:45 p.m. Friday, there was no announcement of former coach Todd Monken's replacement.

Much of the chatter Friday focused on two men - Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson and Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

McGillis and his small advisory committee have done a good job of keeping the candidates under wraps so there remains the possibility of a serious candidate that has yet to be reported.

Nussmeier emerged as a serious candidate for the USM job on Wednesday when reported that his interview had gone “very well.”

Nussmeier, 45, also interviewed for the Southern Miss job in 2012 when Todd Monken was hired.

At the time of his first interview, Nussmeier was wrapping up the first of two years as offensive coordinator at Alabama.

The Crimson Tide ranked 33rd in the nation in total offense in 2012 and 34th in 2013 with Nussmeier making the playcalls.

Nussmeier left Alabama after the 2013 season to become offensive coordinator at Michigan, where he made $830,000 in his one season on the job.

Even with the addition of Nussmeier, Michigan continued its offensive struggles and ranked 115th in the nation in total offense with an average of 333 yards a game.

After Brady Hoke was fired as head coach at Michigan in 2014, Nussmeier moved to Florida to take a salary of $500,000. The Gators, who finished 10-4 with an SEC East title in 2015, averaged 334 yards a game to rank 112th overall in total offense.

Nussmeier has also served as offensive coordinator at Washington (2009-11) and quarterbacks coach for the St. Louis Rams (2006-07).

Monken, who is now offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, received a base salary of $700,000 at Southern Miss.

Hopson, 47, has been a success in four years as head coach at Alcorn State, where he has a record of 32-17 and a pair of SWAC championships.

Hopson, a Vicksburg native, has deep ties across the Magnolia State. He's a former Ole Miss football player and twice served on the staff at USM.

He was defensive backs coach at USM from 2001-03 and defensive coordinator for the Golden Eagles from 2005-07.

USM defensive coordinator David Duggan interviewed for the USM job on Monday and is the only option for McGillis to make an in-staff promotion. Duggan, 52, has spent seven out of the last eight seasons on the staff at USM and worked as a head coach in NFL Europe for the Cologne Centurions in 2006-07.

USM is coming off a 9-5 season with a Conference USA East title and a trip to the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

TCU co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham, North Carolina associate head coach/co-offensive coordinator Chris Kapilovic, Ole Miss co-offensive coordinator Matt Luke, Middle Tennessee defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, Houston offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee have also been mentioned in relation to the USM job.