Southern Mississippi Eagles Coach Ellis Johnson Under Fire

By Kris Hughes

Picture this:

You’re a first-year coach for a college football program fresh off arguably the best season in school history in 2011. Expectations are sky-high for 2012, and then, you start 0-10.


Such is the daily life of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles head football coach Ellis Johnson, and I would assume it’s safe to say, not a happy one these days.

This is the same Southern Miss team that hasn’t had a losing season since 1993 and hasn’t missed the post-season since 2001– obviously, it goes without saying, the Eagles and their fans are accustomed to winning.

With eight returning starters on offense and a total of 13 returning starters overall, the complete collapse the Eagles have suffered couldn’t have been predicted. A rash of injuries to key players certainly hasn’t helped Coach Johnson try to keep the boat afloat– the most dire being to quarterbacks, forcing the Eagles to use five different signal-callers at different times during the 2012 season to date.

New coaches always encounter difficulties they couldn’t have possibly imagined prior to taking the reins of their new programs, but it’s reasonable to assume they don’t face the snowball Ellis Johnson has faced in 2012.

Now, given this, you would assume fans would be patient and understanding.

On that assumption, you would be wrong.

Here are a few examples of Tweets regarding Coach Johnson’s present and future in Hattiesburg:

So yeah, short-term memory is ruling the day.

It’s certainly easy for these “fans” to turn on a coach who may or may not– but should– be given an opportunity to turn things around in 2013 and prove he is the right man for the job.

Ellis Johnson had big shoes to fill with the departure of former head coach Larry Fedora to the North Carolina Tar Heels, and regardless of how the 2012 team would have performed it likely wouldn’t have been good enough.

Sure, 0-10 is awful, and justifiably should bring questions which require answers.

Is the answer to fire Ellis Johnson?

Probably not.

Would Southern Mississippi fans rejoice if it happened?


And their joy would be severely misguided. Things don’t always happen just as “we” have planned.

Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.

Kris is also the host of  Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.

You May Also Like