Ellis Johnson out at Southern Miss after 0-12 debut
Posted by: Chris Vannini on November 27, 2012
After an 0-12 debut season, Ellis Johnson will not return as head coach at Southern Miss in 2013.
Johnson was the defensive coordinator / assistant head coach at South Carolina from 2008-11 before taking over a Southern Miss team that went 12-2 in 2011. He had waited a long time for an FBS head coaching job, but many factors led to struggles for the Golden Eagles in 2012, and the fan base had turned on him.
"At Southern Miss we expect to compete hard and succeed both in the classroom and on the field," athletic director Jeff Hammond said in a release. "This is not the exception...This is in fact the standard, the norm, our identity and who we are. In this regard, we have already initiated a search for a new head coach. We will move rapidly in this effort seeking a dynamic leader with the character to lead our program back to prominence.
"Today marks a new beginning, a new season and a new start. Thus I ask all members of the Southern Miss Family for your support, now more than ever. We must unite and come together as one through this transition period. Please let dignity, respect and love for Our Great University be our watchwords."
On Sunday, CoachingSearch.com reported that USM was prepared to contact North Carolina offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Blake Anderson if it made a move with Johnson.
Anderson served as the offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach at Southern Miss from 2008-11 before following Larry Fedora to UNC. He helped lead Southern Miss to four consecutive bowl games and the 2011 C-USA championship.
Johnson signed a 4-year contract worth $740,000 annually when he became the head coach in Hattiesburg. As part of his buyout, the university will have to pay him $700,000 annually for the next three years.
Stay tuned to the Coaching Search Ticker for updates on the Southern Miss situation.
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Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org