Southern Miss Golden Eagles football

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Southern Miss Golden Eagles football
2016 Southern Miss Golden Eagles football team
Southern Miss Script Logo.png
First season 1912
Athletic director Zac Woodfin (interim)
Head coach Jay Hopson
1st year, 7–6 (.538)
Stadium M. M. Roberts Stadium
Year built 1932
Seating capacity 36,000
Field surface Sports Exe Momentum Turf
Location Hattiesburg, Mississippi
NCAA division Division I FBS
Conference Conference USA
Division West
All-time record 576–410–27 (.582)
Bowl record 11–11 (.500)
Conference titles 8
Consensus All-Americans 78
Current uniform
Colors Black and Gold[1]
Fight song Southern Miss to the Top
Mascot Seymour d'Campus
Marching band Pride of Mississippi
Outfitter Russell Athletic
Rivals Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Tulane Green Wave
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Memphis Tigers

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles football program represents the University of Southern Mississippi in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The Eagles are members of Conference USA and play their home games at M. M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.


Early history (1912–1930)[edit]

Southern Miss first fielded a football team in 1912, coached by Ronald Slay.[2] That team posted a 2-1 record.[2]

A. B. Dille coached the Golden Eagles from 1914–1916, posting a record of 6-10-1.[2] USM did not field a football team from 1917–1919 because of World War I.

Hubert and Green (1931–1948)[edit]

Allison Hubert was the Golden Eagles head football coach for six seasons, posting a 26-24-5 record.[3] His Golden Eagles teams were known to be fast and fierce. Hubert departed after the 1936 season to accept the head football coach position at VMI.

After Hubert came Reed Green, who coached USM for a total of nine years, from 1937–1942 and 1946 to 1948.[2] His final record is 59-20-4.[2] The Golden Eagles did not compete in football from 1943 to 1945 because of World War II.

Thad Vann era (1949–1968)[edit]

Thad Vann

During the coaching tenure of Thad Vann, the Golden Eagles became one of the nation's most elite football programs. Vann compiled a 139-59-2 record, had only one losing season in his 20 seasons in Hattiesburg, his last.[2] His 1953 and 1954 Golden Eagles teams upset Alabama and posted records of 9-2 and 6-4, respectively. The Golden Eagles made it to the Sun Bowl in 1954. Vann's 1958 and 1962 teams claim a national championship. Vann retired after the 1968 season and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1987.

P. W. Underwood era (1969–1974)[edit]

P. W. Underwood returned to his alma mater from his post as an assistant coach at Tennessee. Underwood compiled a 31-32-2 record in his six seasons and engineered one of the biggest wins in school history in 1970, a 30-14 upset of fourth-ranked Mississippi.[4]

Bobby Collins era (1975–1981)[edit]

Bobby Collins was the Golden Eagles head football coach for seven seasons, compiling a record of 48-30-2.[2][5] Collins led the Golden Eagles to two bowl appearances, the Independence Bowl and the Tangerine Bowl after the 1980 and 1981 regular seasons.[6][7] His 1981 team finished ranked #19 in the final Coaches' Poll.[8] Collins left USM after the 1981 season to accept the head football coach position at SMU.[9]

Jim Carmody era (1982-1987)[edit]

Collins was succeeded by his former defensive coordinator Jim Carmody, who coached the Golden Eagles for six seasons.[2] Under Carmody's tutelage, Carmody's Golden Eagles compiled a record of 37-29.[9] Only one of those six seasons did the Golden Eagles finish with a losing record, a 4-7 campaign in 1984.[10] The Golden Eagles would only have one more losing season until 2012.[11][12]

During Carmody's tenure, the Golden Eagles defeated Alabama, 38-29, in Tuscaloosa in 1982, snapping the Crimson Tide's 56-game home winning streak at Bryant-Denny Stadium.[13][14] It was the first time since 1962 that UA had lost there and also proved to be the final loss of legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's career. Carmody recruited a young Kiln, Mississippi high school quarterback named Brett Favre to Southern Miss in 1987.[15] [16]

Curley Hallman era (1988–1990)[edit]

Brett Favre, who played for Curley Hallman at USM

Curley Hallman came to Southern Miss from his post as defensive backs coach at Texas A&M.[17] Hallman's .676 winning percentage at USM is the highest of any coach in Southern Miss football history. Hallman coached future NFL star quarterback Brett Favre during his tenure at USM. Hallman's record at Southern Miss is 23-11 in three seasons.[2] Hallman departed after the 1990 season to accept the head football coach position at LSU.[18]

Jeff Bower era (1991–2007)[edit]

Jeff Bower came back to his alma mater as head football coach following Hallman's departure. Bower led the Golden Eagles to 14 consecutive winning seasons, the fifth longest streak in college football history[19] and to bowl games 10 of his last 11 seasons. Bower's 119 wins are the most by any head coach in USM football history. Bower led the Golden Eagles to three Liberty Bowl appearances (two wins) in 1997, 1999 and 2003. His 1997 and 1999 teams finished ranked in the top 20 of both the AP and Coaches' Polls. Bower also led the Golden Eagles to two New Orleans Bowl victories (2004 & 2005), a GMAC Bowl victory (2006) and a Mobile Alabama Bowl victory (2000). He led the Golden Eagles to three additional bowl appearances. Bower was named Conference USA's "Coach of the Decade" in 2004.[20] Bower resigned after the 2007 season with an overall record of 119-83-1.[20]

Larry Fedora era (2008–2011)[edit]

Larry Fedora was hired away from his post as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State as the USM head football coach on December 11, 2007.[21] Fedora's four-year contract included a $650,000 per-year base salary, but incentives brought his yearly pay close to $900,000.[22] Fedora made a big splash early in his tenure at USM, landing a commitment from five-star wide receiver prospect DeAndre Brown, who chose the Golden Eagles over offers from SEC members LSU, Ole Miss and Auburn.

In Fedora's first game as head coach, the Golden Eagles set the USM all-time record for yards in a game with 633. Southern Miss would go on to notch its four most explosive offensive seasons in program history in Fedora's four seasons. His players also graduated at the highest rate in USM history.[23] In what turned out to be Fedora's final season, the Golden Eagles upset sixth-ranked and undefeated Houston in the Conference USA championship game en route to a Hawaii Bowl victory and rankings of #19 and #20 in the final Coaches' and AP Polls, respectively. Fedora also led the Golden Eagles to two New Orleans Bowl appearances (one win, one loss) in his first two seasons and a loss in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl to Louisville in his third. Fedora's record year-by year was back-to-back 7-6 records in 2008 and 2009, 8-5 in 2010 and a USM record 12-2 in 2011. The 2011 season was the first time USM had ever won 12 games in a single season.[24]

Fedora left after the 2011 season to accept the head football coach position at North Carolina, leaving Southern Miss with a 34-19 overall record.[24]

Ellis Johnson era (2012)[edit]

Following Fedora's departure, Ellis Johnson was hired as head coach at USM away from South Carolina, where he served as defensive coordinator.[25] A long-time and well-respected defensive coordinator of the SEC and ACC with extensive recruiting ties throughout the South, Johnson's hire was met with praise by most USM fans. However, the Golden Eagles success seen under Johnson's predecessors turned south quickly, as USM went 0-12 in what turned out to be Johnson's only season as head coach.[26] It was USM's first losing season since 1993.[27] The drop from 12-2 to 0-12 is among the largest single season drops in college football history.[28] USM was also the only team in the nation to fail to win a single game in 2012.[28] Fan support and attendance fell, and Johnson was fired after the disastrous season.[29]

Todd Monken era (2013–2015)[edit]

Todd Monken was hired as the head football coach at USM from his post as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State to turn around the suddenly downtrodden Golden Eagles football program.[30] Monken's Golden Eagles lost their first 11 games of the 2013 season but broke a 23-game losing streak in November 2013, a 62-27 victory over UAB, their first victory since the 2011 Hawaii Bowl, Fedora's final game.[31] After a 3-9 2014 campaign, Southern Miss finally returned to form in 2015, winning Conference USA's West Division and advancing to the conference title game, where the Golden Eagles fell to Western Kentucky. Southern Miss had one of the most productive offenses in college football and finished 2015 with a 9-5 record, including a Heart of Dallas Bowl loss to the University of Washington.

After the season, Monken accepted an offer to become the offensive coordinator of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[32]

Jay Hopson era (2016–present)[edit]

Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson, a former USM assistant, was hired as the Golden Eagles head coach in January 2016.[33] In his first year at the helm, Hopson led the Golden Eagles to a 7-6 record, a bowl victory, and the first win over an SEC opponent since Jeff Bower's 2000 team. Hopson's Eagles secured wins over three teams with winning records, a 50% increase over the prior year.

Classifications and Conference affiliations[edit]

Conference affiliations


National championships[edit]

Year Overall Record Coach Selector
1958 9–0 Thad Vann United Press International College Division
1962 9–1 Thad Vann United Press International College Division

Conference championships[edit]

Year Overall Record Conference Record Coach Conference
1948 7–3 4–0 Reed Green Gulf States Conference
1950 5–5 3–1 Thad Vann Gulf States Conference
1951 6–5 4–0 Thad Vann Gulf States Conference
1996 8–3 4–1 Jeff Bower Conference USA
1997 9–3 6–0 Jeff Bower Conference USA
1999 9–3 6–0 Jeff Bower Conference USA
2003 9–4 8–0 Jeff Bower Conference USA
2011 12–2 6–2 Larry Fedora Conference USA
† Denotes co-champions

Bowl history[edit]

Season Bowl Game Result Opponent Score
1953 Sun Bowl L Pacific 7–26
1954 Sun Bowl L UTEP 14–37
1956 Tangerine Bowl L West Texas State 13–20
1957 Tangerine Bowl L East Texas State 9–10
1980 Independence Bowl W McNeese State 16–14
1981 Tangerine Bowl L Missouri 17–19
1988 Independence Bowl W UTEP 38–18
1990 All-American Bowl L N.C. State 27–31
1997 Liberty Bowl W Pittsburgh 41–7
1998 Humanitarian Bowl L Idaho 35–42
1999 Liberty Bowl W Colorado State 23–17
2000 Mobile Alabama Bowl W TCU 28–21
2002 Houston Bowl L Oklahoma State 23–33
2003 Liberty Bowl L Utah 0–17
2004 New Orleans Bowl W North Texas 31–10
2005 New Orleans Bowl W Arkansas State 31–19
2006 GMAC Bowl W Ohio 28–7
2007 Bowl L Cincinnati 21–31
2008 New Orleans Bowl W Troy 30–27 OT
2009 New Orleans Bowl L Middle Tennessee 32–42
2010 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl L Louisville 28–31
2011 Hawaii Bowl W Nevada 24–17
2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl L Washington 31–44
2016 New Orleans Bowl W Louisiana–Lafayette 28–21


All-time record vs. C-USA teams[edit]

Official record (including any NCAA imposed vacates and forfeits) against all current C-USA opponents:

Opponent Won Lost Percentage Streak First Last
Charlotte 1 1 .500 Lost 1 2015 2016
Florida Atlantic 0 1 .000 Lost 1 2013 2013
FIU 0 1 .000 Lost 1 2013 2013
Louisiana Tech 33 15 .688 Won 2 1935 2016
Marshall 6 6 .500 Won 1 2005 2016
Middle Tennessee 0 3 .000 Lost 3 2009 2014
North Texas 6 5 .545 Lost 1 1954 2016
Old Dominion 1 1 .500 Lost 1 2015 2016
Rice 3 4 .429 Won 2 2007 2016
UAB 10 5 .667 Lost 1 2000 2014
UTEP 5 4 .556 Won 2 1954 2016
UTSA 1 2 .333 Lost 1 2014 2016
Western Kentucky 0 2 .000 Lost 2 2012 2015
Totals 66 50 .569

Home stadium[edit]

M. M. Roberts Stadium[edit]

Main article: M. M. Roberts Stadium
M. M. Roberts Stadium – "The Rock"

Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M. M. Roberts Stadium is nicknamed "The Rock at Southern Miss" and boasts a seating capacity of 36,000. The stadium history dates back to October 29, 1932 when the State Teachers College defeated Spring Hill College, 12-0, as some 4,000 fans looked on from wooden bleachers. On this homecoming date, the playing field was dedicated as "Faulkner Field" in honor of local businessman L. E. Faulkner, who provided the materials and equipment to build the original facility. The stadium was dedicated on September 25, 1976, with Southern Miss hosting intrastate-rival [University of Mississippi]. Since the opening of M. M. Roberts Stadium in 1976, Southern Miss has accumulated a winning percentage of 73% at home. In 1989, the playing field had a new irrigation system installed. The Robert "Ace" Cleveland Press Box and president's box was renovated and chairback seating was added to the west side of the stadium. In 2002, the lighting system was upgraded to provide brighter lighting and two new poles were added, one in each end zone. The playing field at Roberts Stadium underwent a name change in the 2004 summer when it was renamed Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium in honor of entrepreneur Gene Carlisle who provided the contribution for the installation of a new playing surface, Momentum Turf by Sportexe. A new state-of-the-art scoreboard was installed prior to the 2007 season. Other renovations and additions include such major projects as luxury suites, club-level seating, elevators on each side of the south end zone, and a visiting team locker room.


Active rivalries[edit]

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs[edit]

Main article: Rivalry in Dixie
Southern Miss–Louisiana Tech: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting USM wins USM losses Win %
47 November 28, 1935 (lost 0–27) November 25, 2016 (won 39-24) 33 15 68.8%

Inactive rivalries[edit]

East Carolina Pirates[edit]

Southern Miss–East Carolina: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting USM wins USM losses Ties Win %
39 September 9, 1951 (won 40–0) October 19, 2013 (loss 14–55) 27 12 0 69%

Memphis Tigers[edit]

Main article: Black and Blue Bowl
Southern Miss–Memphis: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting USM wins USM losses Ties Win %
63 October 26, 1935 (won 12–0) November 24, 2012 (loss 24–42) 40 22 1 64.3%

Tulane Green Wave[edit]

Main article: Battle for the Bell
Southern Miss–Tulane: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting USM wins USM losses Win %
30 October 13, 1979 (lost 19–20) November 6, 2010 (won 46–30) 23 7 76.7%


Golden Eagles to have played in the NFL, AFL or AAFC[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

The Eagles have retired three numbers to date.[34]

Southern Miss Golden Eagles retired numbers
No. Player Pos. Career
4 Brett Favre QB 1987–90
10 Reggie Collier QB 1980–82
44 Ray Guy P 1970–72


Head Coach- Jay Hopson Assistant Head Coach- Tim Billings Offensive Coordinator/ QBs- Shannon Dawson Defensive Coordinator- Tony Pecararo WR's / Special Teams Coordinator- John Wozniak Running Backs- Lytrel Pollard Tight Ends- Desmond Lindsey Offensive Line- Jack Wright Secondary- Dan Disch Defensive Line- Derek Nicholson Offensive GA- Max Drisko Offensive GA- A.J. Antonescu Defensive GA- Rip Rowan Defensive GA- Hendrick Taylor Special Teams GA- Jeff Crosby Offensive Student Assistant- Lane Kiffin


Southern Miss to the Top[edit]

The Southern Miss to the Top! Response Cheer is used among Southern Miss alumni, students and supporters. The initiator of the cheer says "Southern Miss!" The responder says "To the Top!" Hand signals accompany the cheer, which are two gestures upward with the index finger, done by both the initiator and responder.

The District[edit]

The District is located near the intersection of US Hwy 49 and Hardy Street. The historic district of campus is anchored by the five original buildings of the campus: Ogelee Tree Alumni House, The Honor House, College Hall, Forrest Hall, and Hattiesburg Hall. It is also the traditional tailgating site for students during football season. It is home to Lake Byron, which has served as a focal point for many university activities and several weddings.

Eagle Walk[edit]

The Eagle Walk is found underneath the upper deck of M. M. Roberts Stadium. Two hours prior to football game day, a cannon is fired, which begins the procession. ROTC, The Pride of Mississippi Marching Band, University officials, and football players make a march through this street to the cheers of thousands of fans. Every fall, the incoming freshmen give the walls and street a "fresh coat of paint" as they have done for half a century.

Pride of Mississippi Marching Band[edit]

Seymour d'Campus[edit]

Main article: Seymour d'Campus

Over the years, Southern Miss has experienced an evolution of nicknames from Normalites to Tigers to Yellow Jackets to Confederates to Southerners. In 1972, alumni, faculty, students and staff were asked to submit new names for the athletic teams, and an ad hoc committee appointed by the Alumni Association voted on the submissions. The present mascot, the Golden Eagles, was chosen as the athletic teams’ name, and the new mascot was eventually named Seymour, an individual in a golden eagle costume. Seymour's full name is Seymour d'Campus (a pun on "see more [of] the campus"). The name was inspired by the 1984 World's Fair mascot, Seymour d'Fair (a pun on "see more [of] the Fair"), who was played by former Southern Miss mascot Jeff Davis ’83.

Future non-conference opponents[edit]

Announced schedules as of October 21, 2015

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 TBA
vs Kentucky vs Jackson State vs Alcorn State vs South Alabama at South Alabama vs BYU
vs Southern vs Louisiana–Monroe at Troy at Auburn at BYU
at Louisiana–Monroe at Appalachian State at Alabama
at Tennessee at Auburn



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  34. ^ "Southern Miss Announces Retirement of Reggie Collier's No. 10 Football Jersey – SOUTHERNMISS.COM – The Southern Miss Golden Eagles Official Athletic Site". 
  35. ^ "Southern Miss Golden Eagles Football Schedules and Future Schedules". Retrieved 2016-09-27.