Southern Miss

Jay Hopson decides not to retain DC David Duggan at Southern Miss

 David Duggan will not be returning in 2016 as the Southern Miss defensive coordinator.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD David Duggan will not be returning in 2016 as the Southern Miss defensive coordinator. SUN HERALD

Todd Monken's former defensive coordinator at Southern Miss, David Duggan, will not be retained as part of Jay Hopson's new USM staff.

Hopson informed Duggan that he was being let go Friday morning.

Duggan worked at USM in seven of the last eight seasons and was a candidate to replace Monken as head coach after he left on Jan. 24 to become offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hopson, who previously served as head coach at Alcorn State, was hired on Jan. 30.

"I'm very disappointed in being let go," Duggan said Friday in a statement to the Sun Herald. "I put everything I had in to getting Southern Miss back on the right track. I can't believe it is ending like this."

Former Alcorn State defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro will play a large role in developing Hopson's defense at Southern Miss. Pecoraro, who also served as defensive coordinator at North Alabama, is already in Hattiesburg working as part of the staff and lists "co-defensive coordinator" as his occupation on his Twitter account.

Hopson decided to let go Monken's offensive line coach, Luke Meadows, on Thursday. He will be replaced by Northwest Mississippi Community College head coach Jack Wright.

Former Kentucky offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who also served as offensive coordinator at West Virginia in 2011-14, will take over the same position at Southern Miss.

Alcorn State defensive line coach Derek Nicholson is also among Hopson's new staff members, according to The Clarion-Ledger. He worked on the staff at Louisville in 2014.

John Wozniak, who served as offensive coordinator during USM's bowl game, will remain on the staff under Hopson, but it's unclear what position he will hold.

Monken's secondary coach, former USM player Lytrel Pollard, will also be part of Hopson's staff.

Larry Fedora hired Duggan as his linebackers coach at Southern Miss in 2008 and he made the step up to co-defensive coordinator in 2011, helping the Golden Eagles finish 12-2 that season with a Conference USA title.

Duggan joined the staff at North Carolina for one season when Fedora became head coach there in 2012.

Duggan returned to USM in 2013 to take over as Monken's defensive coordinator, helping rebuild a USM program that fell to 0-12 in 2012 under head coach Ellis Johnson, who was fired after one season.

Duggan's defense showed significant improvement throughout the 2015 season and played its best in a 58-24 win at Louisiana Tech in the regular season finale to clinch a spot in the C-USA title game.

In 2015, USM ranked second in C-USA in scoring defense (25.6 points per game) and third in total defense (379.5 yards allowed).