Highlights from Todd Monken’s introductory press conference at Southern Miss
Wearing a black suit and gold tie, former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken was officially introduced as the new head coach at Southern Miss Tuesday afternoon.
Monken was presented with a black and gold jersey with his name on it. He was trumpeted as the “unanimous” choice for the job. And he looked calm and poised speaking at the podium — something he virtually never did at OSU — and gradually loosened up and showed glimpses of the colorful Monken by the end of the appearance.
Here are some highlights from the press conference:
“It’s a special place”
No, not Southern Miss. Oklahoma State.
Monken was very complimentary to OSU, athletic director Mike Holder, head coach Mike Gundy, the Cowboy players and Stillwater.
“It’s a special place,” Monken said. “Stillwater’s a great town, Oklahoma State is a great university. I wouldn’t be the person and the coach I am today without them. Mike Gundy’s a great friend. He gave me an opportunity two years ago to leave the NFL and go to Oklahoma State coordinating offense…
“Mike’s developed a culture there about attitude and body language and the way you carry yourself and that it all matters, whether it’s on the field or off the field. That’s what we’re going to try to establish here.
“I look forward to watching them play in the bowl game. It’s sad when you’ve got to leave players you coach. There’s one game left, and I won’t be there for them. But I’m the head coach at Southern Miss now, and that’s where my butt belongs, so I’m here.”
“I knew, again, that I wanted it”
Monken interviewed for the Southern Miss head job around this time last year. The gig went to Ellis Johnson, who was fired after going 0-12 this season.
When the job came open again, Monken was instantly drawn to it again because of the tradition and history of success USM has had as a mid-major football program, and the passion the school and community has for college football.
“When you’re in the coaching profession, you want high expectations,” Monken said. “You want to be at a place where winning is expected, and this is one of those places.”
Monken said getting grilled by USM’s search committee was actually his favorite part of the interview process.
“I like to argue, I like to compete, and they got after it right away,” Monken said. “They had some really good questions, and the more they got after it, the more I got after it. And the more they could feel my passion, the more I could feel their passion. To me, it was obvious that if they offered me the job, I would take it.”
“Put the fun back in football”
Monken used that in a general sense — that he wants the players to enjoy being around the coaches and their teammates.
But, of course, he’s also talking about the Air Raid spread offense that helped make Monken a head coaching commodity. Monken will run the same system at USM.
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