A fellow journalist tweeted at me yesterday that Southern Miss should rename itself “Oklahoma State University-Southeast.” I thought that was funny and clever—and also somewhat true.
The Golden Eagles’ last two football coaches, Jeff Bower and Larry Fedora, were OSU’s offensive coordinator before taking the head job at USM.
Could Todd Monken be next?
The Hattiesburg American is reporting that Monken interviewed for the head coaching position at USM earlier this week after Fedora left for North Carolina. USM offensive coordinator Blake Anderson, South Carolina assistant head coach Ellis Johnson and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart are other top candidates, according to the newspaper. A new coach could be named as early as Friday.
Monken has been a popular name during the coaching carousel. He was contacted by Tulane before taking himself out of the running for that job. He was also mentioned for the Illinois job before Tim Beckman, another former OSU assistant, was hired last week.
Whether Monken is hired at USM or not, Mike Gundy’s coaching tree continues to grow. Beckman and Fedora both landed big-time jobs last week. Former offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen did the same last year and led West Virginia to the Orange Bowl in his first season. Monken is drawing interest from major programs after just one season directing OSU’s high-powered offense.
A lot of Cowboy fans have expressed concern or frustration to me about assistants, particularly offensive coordinators, bolting (or potentially bolting) Stillwater after only one year.
The question I pose is this: Would you rather Gundy hire the very best coach he can find, which quickly makes him a candidate for a head job in the near future, or would you rather Gundy hire a “worse” coach who would stay in Stillwater for a number of years because he’s not ready or wanted as a head coach?