Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken has, once again, emerged as a legitimate candidate for the head coaching job at Southern Miss.
A source close to the USM program told The Oklahoman Monday that Monken is believed to be one of three top contenders for the job. The others are North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson and Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz. Interviews for the position were set to begin over the weekend.
Monken interviewed last year for the head job at USM. Ellis Johnson was eventually hired, then fired after going 0-12 this season.
USM athletic director Jeff Hammond told the Biloxi Sun Herald last week that he would like to have a coach hired by Dec. 19. But the decision could be made by the end of the week, the source said.
Monken has also been linked to the opening at Louisiana Tech, where he was an assistant coach from 2000-01. Under former coach Sonny Dykes, the Bulldogs ran the same Air Raid spread offense as OSU.
Monken is in his second season as OSU’s offensive coordinator, where he has directed one of the nation’s most prolific attacks. The Cowboys rank fifth in the nation in total offense (548.92 yards per game) and fourth in scoring offense (44.67 points per game), despite losing two first-round NFL Draft picks in quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon, needing three starting quarterbacks and sustaining a bevy of injuries on that side of the ball.
USM has a history of hiring OSU offensive coordinators, as Jeff Bower and Larry Fedora both went from running the offense in Stillwater to head coaching in Hattiesburg. Fedora then made the jump from USM to North Carolina last year.