Southern Miss names six assistant football coaches

By Patrick Magee/Hattiesburg American

New Southern Miss football coach Todd Monken announced seven members of his staff on Friday, including offensive and defensive coordinators.

Dave Duggan, a former USM staff member, will serve as defensive coordinator while former California assistant Marcus Arroyo will be the offensive coordinator and outside receivers coach.

“These are guys that can connect with players and are loyal,” Monken said in describing the staff as a whole. “They’re excited to be a part of Southern Miss football. We have a job because of these players. They’ll work for the university and work for the players. That’s what I was looking for. I couldn’t be any more pleased with the guys I hired.”

Veteran assistant Pete Perot, who coached the offensive line at USM from 1997-99, will handle the offensive front again after a 12-year stint at Louisiana Tech.

Former Oklahoma State graduate assistant Andrew Thacker will coach safeties while John Wozniak, who worked as an off-the-field administrator and assistant at Alabama last year, will coach special teams and inside receivers.

Former Louisiana Tech and NFL running back John Simon will coach running backs.

Steve Buckley, who served as offensive coordinator for USM last year under recently fired head coach Ellis Johnson, will continue on the staff as recruiting coordinator.

Monken said Friday that he has two more positions to fill on the staff.

“We’re not going to rush those hires,” he said. “We’re going to get those right.”

Duggan is a familiar name for USM fans after he served on former head coach Larry Fedora’s staff from 2008-11. He was linebackers coach his first three years at USM before transitioning to the role of co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2011, when the team went 12-2 and earned a Conference USA championship.

Duggan was part of Fedora’s staff at North Carolina this past season, coaching outside linebackers and special teams.

Monken said he became familiar with Duggan through relationships with other coaches and received good feedback when he mentioned Duggan’s name to current players.

“I knew if (UNC offensive coordinator Blake Anderson) had gotten the job, he would have potentially brought Dave with him,” Monken said. “There’s a number of different factors (that played into Duggan’s hiring).

“I hired him because he’s a really good football coach, a good person and he connects with the players.”

Arroyo, who was at Cal for two years, was quarterbacks coach in his first season for the Golden Bears before being promoted to the level of passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach this past season.

Prior to joining the staff at Cal-Berkeley, Arroyo was an offensive coordinator at Wyoming and San Jose State.

Monken, who will handle play-calling and coach quarterbacks, looks to Arroyo as someone that can complement his air-it-out style on offense.

“I was trying to find someone in that role that had success and has been a part of a spread offense,” Monken said. “He hasn’t been a part of an offense we’re running now. He’s someone who will have separate ideas and can learn what we’ve been doing.”