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Southern Miss rewarded for drastic turnaround by losing its head coach to the NFL

From zero wins to nine to starting all over again.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken is leaving for the NFL to become Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator, the Buccaneers announced Sunday. Monken had engineered a terrific turnaround for the program over the past few seasons, culminating in a nine-win 2015 campaign.

Previously Mike Gundy's offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, Monken was hired in 2013 to take over a Southern Miss program that had gone 0-12 the year before. After a 1-11 season his first year, the Golden Eagles improved to 3-9 in 2014.

Last year's 9-5 mark was a massive jump, but now Southern Miss has a coaching search less than two weeks from Signing Day. All the other jobs have been filled, so the Golden Eagles get their pick of candidates who weren't already hired by everyone else.

Monken previously worked in the NFL once before, with new head coach Dirk Koetter in Jacksonville. Bucs fans at Bucs Nation approve of the hire.

It's interesting that the Bucs passed over in-house coordinator options in quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian, tight ends coach Jon Embree and offensive line coach George Warhop. But Monken has an impressive resume and a lot of experience, which fits the Bucs' approach to position coaches this offseason.

Last time Southern Miss had to replace a successful coach, Ellis Johnson followed up Larry Fedora's 12-win season with a winless campaign. But Monken left the program in a better place than he found it, and 75 percent of the team's two-deep is scheduled to return for the next coach.


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