Southern Miss football coaching search comes to an end

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As far as coaching carousels go, the Southern Miss football program has been along for the ride for much longer than most.

Eighty-five days after Jay Hopson stepped down from his post as head man of the Golden Eagles, they finally have his permanent replacement thus ending perhaps the most extensive search in the entire country.

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As first reported by News 25 per multiple sources, USM is set to hire Tulane offensive coordinator Will Hall who has been a favorite to land the job from the very start.

Assuming the hire is made official in the next 24 hours, Southern Miss will make its formal announcement during the men’s basketball home opener against William Carey tomorrow night.

Hall will be the 22nd head football coach at USM, having served as the Green Wave OC since 2019 with prior stops as an assistant at Memphis and Louisiana and head coaching stops at West Alabama and West Georgia.

Hall is the son of former Biloxi Head Coach Bobby Hall and won the 1998 3A State Championship at Amory High School under his father’s tutelage.

Now a lot has happened ever since Hopson’s resignation back on September 7th following USM’s season opening loss to South Alabama.

Interim Scotty Walden became the youngest FBS head coach less than two weeks later, but was met with mixed results including the program’s worst-ever defensive effort at MM Roberts Stadium against none other than Hall and the Green Wave.

Then the COVID-19 issues, starting with postponements of FAU and UTEP.

Less than a week later, Walden himself tested positive for the virus, making Tim Billings the interim to the interim for USM’s game at Liberty.

Less than a week after that, Walden accepted the head coaching job at Austin Peay so three head coaches in less than two months.

Finally, the black and gold ultimately losing games at UAB and UTEP due to COVID-19 prior to Hall’s hiring to kick off December.

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A native of Pass Christian and a St. Stanislaus alum, Jeff Haeger comes to News 25 from right in our backyard. He most recently spent more than three years working as the sports reporter for WHLT-TV in Hattiesburg, where he provided extensive coverage of his alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Jeff was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. He also wrote for USM's award-winning school newspaper, The Student Printz, where he won first place for Best Sports Story in 2013. Jeff loves to travel, and is excited to get back on the water to reunite with his family. In his spare time you can find Jeff spending time with his friends, and maybe even winning a fantasy football league. For sports stories contact Jeff at jhaeger@wxxv25.com.