Published November 27, 2012
| Sports Network
Hattiesburg, MS – Southern Mississippi head football coach Ellis Johnson will not return after a disastrous 0-12 mark in his lone season.
Johnson replaced Larry Fedora, who left the program after last season to take the head coaching job at North Carolina. The Golden Eagles finished 12-2 in Fedora's final year, won the Conference USA title with a convincing 49-28 triumph over Houston and topped Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl.
It would have been extremely tough to repeat those feats, but the misery of a winless 2012 convinced athletic director Jeff Hammond to make a quick change.
"Following a thorough assessment of our football program I made the recommendation to our university president that we not retain Ellis Johnson as our head football coach," Hammond said in a statement Tuesday. "At Southern Miss, we expect to compete hard and succeed both in the classroom and on the field. This is not the exception. This is in fact the standard, the norm, our identity and who we are."
Southern Miss hadn't finished with a losing record since going 3-7-1 in 1993 and went without a victory for the first time since an 0-6 mark in 1925.
Prior to taking the job at Southern Miss, Johnson served as the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach under Steve Spurrier for four seasons at South Carolina. He was also defensive coordinator at Southern Miss in 1988 and '89.
His lengthy coaching career included head coaching stints at The Citadel from 2001-03 and Gardner-Webb in 1983. The Citadel went 12-22 under Johnson, but its 6-6 campaign in his final season of 2003 marked the best record for the military institution in six years.