We all know the coaching carousel can stop at just about any point, but if you didn't know that information by now then the dismissal of Ellis Johnson after just one season as the head coach of Southern Miss should tell you all you need to know. This coaching silly season simply got sillier with this move by the Golden Eagles.
Now, to be 100% honest an 0-12 season isn't exactly setting a gold standard for your program, especially one that had 18 straight winning seasons, but don't you think a brand new coach deserves a little bit of leeway? Especially one that had massive injury issues to deal with - including playing four different players at quarterback? To be sure things weren't good before the injuries and this team went from champions to goose egg in one season and that's not a positive note, but one season (good or bad) does not a coach (good or bad) make.
But perhaps fans and pundits are missing the bigger picture. What does this say about the person that made the hire in the first place?
Talk about brutal, geez. Johnson was an assistant under former head coach Larry Fedora, so it's not as if this was a hire made outside of the program or anything. You'd think the AD would have a clue as to the thoughts and coaching style of Johnson before just one season, right?
The kicker comes in the statement that AD Jeff Hammond made in announcing this firing - whomever comes in to coach at Southern Miss better win and win no matter what happens outside of his control to the team that is on the field or you'll be fired, no questions asked, no excuses accepted, EVER.
Hammond said a lot with his actual press release as well, stating:
"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. 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."
It's a troubling trend on the national scale, one that also saw John Embree fired after just two seasons as the head coach at Colorado. This trend is rather disturbing. Honestly, I don't know why anyone would want to become a head coach at the division one level. The money isn't worth the hassle, embarrassment, and absolutely crazy expectations that are heaped on most coaches these days.
What's next? Iowa State announcing they aren't retaining head coach Paul Rhoades because he's failed to deliver a 10 win season in his tenure there and has had a losing season? Good grief.
Yes, there are large sums of money involved and there are ever insane expectations from boosters and donors that athletic directors have to deal with, but that's part of the job no matter where you go as an AD. Scapegoating coaches after one or two seasons is ludicrous at best and asinine at worst.
If we as fans and commentators on college football have these high of standards on head coaches, but about the guys and gals that hire said coaches that they promptly fire? Isn't it their job to find out and hire the best coaches and staffs to become successful programs?
Maybe if we hold these AD's to the standard they are starting to hold coaches for this firestorm would calm down a bit? Perhaps that's exactly what it's going to take to get people to see the bigger picture. Sometimes turning a program around or adjusting a program to a new style and recruiting takes time. Apparently, time isn't on the side of coaches these days and that's a crying shame.
You dumb ass, you don't even know what you are talking about, Ellis wasn't on Fedora's staff. You have no business writing about sports, what a idiot!! Andrew Dumb Ass Coppens, go flip burgers dude.
Beyond your lack of facts in this article you are also just plane wrong. To hire a head coach in FBS is way more complex than how you probably interviewed for your job, over the phone. Multiple committees, boards and voting are all involved so while an AD is part of the process, he/she would not take all of the blame for a poor hire unless he/she REALLY lobbied for him. More specifically to this situation, EJ was a successful DC at an SEC school and rumored to be next in line if Spurrier left SC, so he was a good hire on paper. What we forgot about was his reputation as a trouble maker and the fact he sued Alabama when he didn’t get considered for the HC slot after the Dubose mess. The other issue is he surrounded himself with inexperience. His OC was a high school coach last season for god sakes! The bottom line is this, USM’s football program success has been predicated upon being a solid mid-major, which makes a small amount of TV money, a program who makes it to bowl games which nets anywhere from 750k to a couple mil., and get the shot to be a giant killer which in the past has netted over a mil for a single game. So the REAL bottom line is money and that additional revenue keeps tuition money from footing the athletic depts bills. It’s a business, and Southern Miss had to make a business decision; lose 2.1mil over three years by firing the coach or keep him and lose 15-20mil in maximum potential revenue. I know journalists aren’t the best with numbers so read it slow and while you’re checking my grammar you may want to consider learning something about sports before you go on another factless, opinionated rant.
Johnson was at southern miss in the 80s. Get your facts straight you goober. Might help to do a little RESEARCH on what your yapping about.
"Johnson was an assistant under former head coach Larry Fedora, so it's not as if this was a hire made outside of the program or anything"
Man get your facts right before you start touting garbage on the web. Prior to joining USM as head coach, he was defensive coordinator at South Carolina where he was very successful. He did serve as Defensive Coordinator at USM under Bower prior to Fedora. With that said, he had history with the program and was not an outsider but expectations were high and the talent was there. No one expected a perfect season but there were many games that should have been within reach. The decision to go for two points instead of tying the game at UTEP sealed his fate...just another bad decision made by a man who was not prepared to lead...Johnson's coaching was some of the worst I've ever seen. I wish him the best, just not at Southern Mississippi.