USM may be close to naming new football coach

By Al Jones/Sun-Herald (MCT)

The search for the next football coach at Southern Miss could be over.

Now it’s a matter of who will get the job to replace Larry Fedora, who resigned last week to become North Carolina’s coach.

An announcement, according to a source in the athletic department, may come within the next 48 hours and the new coach could be introduced during Saturday’s Ole Miss-Southern Miss basketball game at Reed Green Coliseum.

However, the search committee set a Christmas deadline to name Fedora’s successor before the process began earlier this week.

The third day of the search on Thursday saw former Southern Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix receive an interview after the committee flew out of Columbia to Atlanta.

Also expected to have been interviewed were Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Murray State coach Chris Hatcher.

Other candidates are Southern Miss offensive coordinator Blake Anderson and former Golden Eagles offensive coordinator Jay Johnson.

Anderson, in his second season as coordinator, has generated a lot of support from alumni, fans and university president Martha Saunders.

Johnson was the coordinator under then-coach Jeff Bower from 2003 to 2007.

Both Anderson and Johnson were granted on-campus interviews Tuesday.

Todd Monken, the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, could also be in the mix.

“It’s been kept real quiet,” the source said. “We could see someone get the job that no one is talking about.”

No 21 Southern Miss (11-2) leaves for the Hawaii Bowl on Sunday to play Nevada on Dec. 24.