The University of Southern Mississippi fired head coach Ellis Johnson on Tuesday and now joins 10 other institutions in searching for leaders to take the helms of their football programs. Johnson was relieved of his position after the Golden Eagles ended the season in a winless slump, which became known as the worst turn-around in college football history.
Last year, Southern Miss closed its final chapter under former head coach Larry Fedora with a win over Nevada in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl and climbed to the Top 25 rankings in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY/Coaches Polls. But since Johnson's hiring, both fans and students did not expect the spiral they would experience in the 2012 season, while struggling to win a single game.
Conflict and controversy within the school of about 17,000 students and an ongoing search for a new university president also played a heavy hand in creating an atmosphere of turmoil, rather than of champions.
Since the former South Carolina Assistant Head Coach parted ways with his black and gold ties, the Golden Eagles look towards the future to find a coach to fit the mold of a winning tradition and strong coaching capabilities.
And as the list mounts and candidates are chosen, several well-known names have come forth to bring Southern Miss soaring towards glory once again. With wishful thinking, several could take the Golden Eagles back to becoming a household name across the South.