Latest Disagreement Between USM's President and Head Football Coach


HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Wednesday marked National Signing Day for high school football players throughout the entire country, but the biggest drama surrounding the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) centers around a coach rather than a player.

USM fans gathered for lunch Wednesday evening at Mugshots. USM’s head football coach Jay Hopson addressed fans about 22 recruits that his team signed on Wednesday. However, the big questions focused on the coach’s vacant offensive coordinator position. Earlier this week, Hopson interview former Baylor University head football coach, Art Briles, to be USM’s new offensive coordinator. Prior their interview Briles got fired from Baylor three years ago after an investigation from the Baylor athletic department discovered football coaches failed to report sexual assault complaints against players. Wednesday, USM President Rodney Bennett issued the following statement: “We have met with Art Briles regarding a position with the Southern Miss football program. Following that meeting, we informed him that he is not a candidate. The University will have no further comment on this matter.” However, Hopson, who apparently wanted to hire Briles issued his own statement which reads: “Although I respect the decision of Dr. Rodney Bennett, I disagree with it. I am so grateful for the grace and forgiveness God gives me which allows me to inherit his kingdom, which I do not deserves. I have interviewed for an assistant position at Southern Miss and I believe he is a man who believes [in] a second chance. He is a man that seemed sincere and humble in his interview and personally he committed no crime. He may not have acted in the proper protocol but that would be my JOB as Southern Miss [head football coach]. He was interviewing for an assistant position even thought… he would be a head coach at a major program in the near future. However, I believe he is a man who does love the Lord and deserves a second chance. He has been banned from a job in college football for three years and has been punished. I understand both sides have opinions, this is just mine.”

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