Coaching changes for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles are coming fact and furious with head coach Jay Hopson nearly completing his staff over the weekend.
Former Kentucky offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson will perform the same role for the Golden Eagles, JUCO head coach Jack Wright will take over the offensive line, and Derek Nicholson will run the defensive line. In addition, both Luke Meadows (offensive line) and David Duggan (defensive coordinator) were let go.
It has yet to be officially confirmed, but Dan Disch is also expected to join the coaching staff. The only opening that makes sense is coaching safeties. He could also become the other half of a co-defensive coordinator duo with Tony Pecoraro.
There are reports that now former Meadows was informed that he would not be retained via text. If so, that is a very disappointing development. Not only did he have to wait for over a week after interviewing with Hopson, but then he was let go by text. I know that we are in a new era of technology, but firing via text is not the way to do it.
The addition of Dawson confirms what we already knew. John Wozniak was never going to be the offensive coordinator under Hopson. The question becomes whether he will assume the responsibilities he had before Chip Lindsey left last year (Special Teams Coordinator/Inside Receivers Coach) or take on a new role.
Now, let's look at each assistant position and who has been hired. If no one has been officially hired for that role, we will look at who is the best choice for the opening.
Shannon Dawson. The former UK and West Virginia offensive coordinator is the official hire. He spent the 2015 season as the offensive coordinator at Kentucky. Dawson was formerly at West Virginia from 2011-2014 as offensive coordinator. The Mountaineer were one of the most explosive offensive teams in the nation with 317 yards in the air and 182 yards on the ground per game in 2014.
Dawson also coached at Wingate University, Southeastern Louisiana, New Mexico State, Millsaps College, and Stephen F. Austin. Dawson will most likely also be the quarterbacks coach as well.
Jack Wright. The head coach of Northwest Mississippi CC, will replace Luke Meadows in leading the offensive line. The Rangers went 15-7 in Wright's two years as head coach. Wright is an Arkansas State alum and coached at Meridian High School and Millsaps College previously.
No idea. There has been no announcement for a tight ends coach. It is one of two offensive coaching positions yet to be filled.
John Wozniak. My best guess would be John Wozniak sliding back into his 2015 role of receivers coach. Last season, before his promotion, Wozniak coached inside receivers and was also the special teams coordinator. I would expect him to at least hold on to a receivers coaching role.
No idea. One of the few positions to open due to a coach taking another position, John Simon left to coach wide receivers for the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana. No one has been announced to replace him yet.
Tony Pecoraro. At least one coach that is following Hopson to Southern Miss is defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro. The former Braves assistant is expected to be share DC duties with another coach, maybe Lytrel Pollard or David Duggan if he is retained. Pecoraro previously coached at North Alabama, Florida State, and Webber International University.
Derek Nicholson. The up and coming coach is another Braves assistant coach that followed Hopson to Southern Miss. Nicholson played college football at Florida State, earning All-ACC honors in 2008. He previously coached at Louisville, Akron, and high school programs in North Carolina and Florida.
Lytrel Pollard. One of only two holdovers from the Monken regime, Lytrel Pollard should be the secondary coach this fall. He is a former Southern Miss player and coached for the Golden Eages from 1999-2007 and then again from 2013 to present. Pollard also spent time on the coaching staffs at Memphis, Mississippi College, Tennessee Martin, and Marshall.
Dan Disch. The former North Carolina assistant is expected to be hired officially very soon. He was the co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach with Southern Miss in a previous stint.
Special Teams Coordinator:
John Wozniak. With Wozniak demoted from offensive coordinator, this is a position that he may take once again. We should hear about this opening soon.
What do you think of the coaching staff that Hopson has put together? Did he keep too few of the previous staff or are you happy with his moves?