A Job Well Done!

Cropped BillA Job Well Done
By
Bill Blackwell

I am sure that many USM fans are worried about their football program after the announcement over this past weekend that Head Coach Todd Monken had taken an NFL position as the Offensive Coordinator for Tampa Bay. While the timing could hardly be worse with National Signing Day just around the corner, Golden Eagle fans should take heart from the strong foundation that Monken built in just three years on the job.

Inheriting a team that had been winless and working tirelessly to build talent and depth, Monken not only produced a winning team in 2015 but USM will return most of the team that went 9-5 and played in their first bowl game in some time. He also signed seven players in the early signing period and has verbal commits from several others prior to the weekend announcement. Whomever Athletics Director Bill McGillis selects will hopefully be able to keep those athletes coming to Hattiesburg.

The nationwide search must be done quickly and McGillis has promised a new hire by next weekend, a very tall order. Most think that either someone already associated with the program or a successful coach familiar with the area, like Jay Hopson at Alcorn State will be among those considered. With coaching searches a frequent occurrence, most AD’s keep a private list of those possible replacements they would choose if their position opened but few face the timeline that McGillis has been handed.

The Golden Eagle fans should celebrate the good fortune and opportunity that Coach Monken has in front of him and feel good about where he has taken them in a short period of time.

On another Golden Eagle note, former USM hoops great Clarence Weatherspoon will be honored this coming Saturday, January 31st with a pre-game reception and halftime recognition when this year’s team takes on UT San Antonio. Weatherspoon, who was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in the 2015 class was a remarkable performer for the teams of M.K. Turk and went on to a long NBA career. The undersized forward was a great rebounder and tough competitor that averaged double figures for his entire professional career. He is deserving of this very nice honor.

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