Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson has resigned from his position just one game into the 2020 college football season, athletic director Jeremy McClain announced on Monday. Co-offensive coordinator Scotty Walden will take over as interim head coach of the Golden Eagles.
Hopson took over the Southern Miss program prior to the 2016 season. He went 28-23 overall and 20-12 in Conference USA play over the last four-plus seasons. He led the Golden Eagles to three bowl games but never finished higher than second place in the C-USA West division. He served as an assistant coach with the program from 2001-03 and 2005-07.
“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 football program is needed,” said McClain. “Coach Hopson has been a part of our program for 10 years. I appreciate his commitment to Southern Miss and wish Jay and his family nothing but the best.”
Hopson’s Golden Eagles lost 32-21 to South Alabama on Thursday night in the season-opener despite being 13.5-point favorites according to William Hill Sportsbook. The defense gave up 526 yards to the Jaguars, which included 363 passing yards and 12.1 yards per passing attempt combined between Desmond Trotter and Chance Lovertich.
“After heartfelt discussion with Jeremy, we have come to a mutual agreement for me to step down as head coach,” said Hopson. “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. I cannot thank Dr. Bennett and our administration enough for the opportunity that they gave me. I wish Southern Miss nothing but the best and am thankful for all that they have done for me and my family.”
Previously, Hopson was 32-17 over four seasons at FCS Alcorn State from 2012-15, won the SWAC in 2014-15 and led the Braves to the inaugural Celebration Bowl — which pits the SWAC and MEAC champions — after the 2015 season.