Southern Miss is now looking for a new football head coach. Jay Hopson has resigned as the head coach of the Golden Eagles after the team's 32-21 loss to South Alabama on Thursday. Co-offensive coordinator Scotty Walden will take over as the interim head coach until a new head coach is hired.
"Coach Hopson came to me after last Thursday's game to discuss what was on his heart and after much discussion over the weekend, he and I agreed that new leadership for our program is needed," Southern Miss athletic director Jeremy McClain said in a statement via ESPN. "McClain went on to say that Hopson has been part of the team for 10 years, and he thanked Hopson for "his commitment to Southern Miss."
Hopson released a statement and explained why he is leaving the program. "After heartfelt discussion with Jeremy, we have come to a mutual agreement for me to step down as head coach," Hopson said. "I am in total agreement with this change in leadership and truly believe it is in the best interest of the players, coaches and this entire program."
Hopson, 51, originally joined Southern Miss in 2005 as a defensive coordinator. He held that role for three seasons before moving on to Michigan to be the linebackers coach for two years. In 2010, Hopson was named the defensive coordinator for Memphis and earned his first head coaching gig in 2012 when he joined Alcorn State. From 2012-2015, Hopson led the Alcorn State to 32 wins and two conference titles. That led to him being hired by Southern Miss in 2016. In his four seasons with the Golden Eagles, Hopson posted a 28-23 record with three bowl appearances and one bowl win.
In 2019, Hopson gained national attention when he interviewed former Baylor head coach Art Briles for a position on his coaching staff. Briles was fired in 2016 after an external investigation revealed that Baylor was mishandling sexual assault allegations by students, including some against football players, according to Fox 10 News. Briles met with Southern Miss President Rodney D. Bennett and interim athletics director Jeff Mitchell and was told he's not hired. "Following that meeting, we informed him that he is not a candidate," the school said in a statement. Hopson said he disagreed with the decision and thinks Briles "deserves a second chance."