Image courtesy of the Southern Miss Athletics
Just days after a dud of a season-opener, Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson has stepped down.
The university has now confirmed the reports that began to surface as early as Sunday night with Athletics Director Jeremy McClain explaining that the two sides mutually agreed to part ways.
“Coach Hopson came to me after last Thursday’s game to discuss what was on his heart and after much discussion over the weekend, he and I agreed that new leadership for our football program is needed,” McClain said in a statement. “Coach Hopson has been a part of our program for 10 years. I appreciate his commitment to Southern Miss and wish Jay and his family nothing but the best.”
The 32-21 loss to South Alabama last Thursday kicked off Hopson’s fifth season as the leader of the Golden Eagles after leading USM to four straight winning seasons and three bowl appearances during his tenure in Hattiesburg.
“After heartfelt discussion with Jeremy, we have come to a mutual agreement for me to step down as head coach. I am in total agreement with this change in leadership and truly believe it is in the best interest of the players, coaches and this entire program,” Hopson said. “I cannot thank Dr. Bennett and our administration enough for the opportunity that they gave me. I wish Southern Miss nothing but the best and am thankful for all that they have done for me and my family.”
The Vicksburg native ends his head coaching stint with USM with an overall record of 28-23.
Co-offensive coordinator/WR coach Scotty Walden will step in to serve as the interim head coach. At a mere 26 years old, Walden served as the head coach of D-III East Texas Baptist in 2016 prior to joining to staff at USM. In 2019, he named a ‘Top 35 coach under 35’ by the American Football Coaches Association.
The Golden Eagles have some time to get things in order as they enter a bye week before facing Louisiana Tech on September 19th.