Jay Hopson is out as Southern Mississippi head football coach and will be replaced by co-offensive coordinator Scotty Walden as interim head coach, the school announced Monday.
Southern Miss suffered a season-opening, 32-21 loss at home Thursday to South Alabama, marking the Jaguars’ first road win since 2017.
“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. “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 guided Southern Miss to winning records in each of his previous four seasons as head coach, including three appearances in bowl games. But the Golden Eagles have lost four straight games dating back to the end of last season.
“After heartfelt discussion with Jeremy, we have come to a mutual agreement for me to step down as head coach,” Hopson said in a statement. “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 wish Southern Miss nothing but the best and am thankful for all that they have done for me and my family.”
Before the 2019 season, Hopson interviewed former Baylor coach Art Briles for the Southern Miss offensive coordinator job, but the school later issued a statement saying Briles was not a candidate and would have no further comment.
Hopson released his own statement saying that it was university president Rodney Bennett’s decision not to hire Briles. Hopson said he respected his president’s decision, but that he disagreed with it and that Briles deserved a second chance.
Walden is in his fourth season at Southern Miss. He has head-coaching experience at East Texas Baptist University during the 2016 season.
Southern Miss’ next game is Sept. 19 against Louisiana Tech at home.