Hattiesburg, MS (Sports Network) - Southern Mississippi head football coach
Ellis Johnson will not return after a disastrous 0-12 mark in his lone
Johnson replaced Larry Fedora, who left the program after last season to take
the head coaching job at North Carolina. The Golden Eagles finished 12-2 in
Fedora's final year, won the Conference USA title with a convincing 49-28
triumph over Houston and topped Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl.
It would have been extremely tough to repeat those feats, but the misery of a
winless 2012 convinced athletic director Jeff Hammond to make a quick change.
"Following a thorough assessment of our football program I made the
recommendation to our university president that we not retain Ellis Johnson as
our head football coach," Hammond said in a statement Tuesday. "At Southern
Miss, we expect to compete hard and succeed both in the classroom and on the
field. This is not the exception. This is in fact the standard, the norm, our
identity and who we are."
Southern Miss hadn't finished with a losing record since going 3-7-1 in 1993
and went without a victory for the first time since an 0-6 mark in 1925.
Prior to taking the job at Southern Miss, Johnson served as the defensive
coordinator and assistant head coach under Steve Spurrier for four seasons at
South Carolina. He was also defensive coordinator at Southern Miss in 1988 and
His lengthy coaching career included head coaching stints at The Citadel from
2001-03 and Gardner-Webb in 1983. The Citadel went 12-22 under Johnson, but
its 6-6 campaign in his final season of 2003 marked the best record for the
military institution in six years.
The Sports Network