Golden Eagles



Golden Eagles Highlights

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Sun Belt
Past Conferences: Independent (1912–1930). Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1931–1941). Independent (1942–1947)Gulf States Conference (1948–1951)Independent (1952–1995)Conference USA (1995-2021)

City: Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Stadium: M. M. Roberts Stadium

National Championships: 2

Conference Titles: 8

Divisional Championships: 3

Team History

The Golden Eagles’ inaugural football season was in 1912. Ronald Slay was the first head coach.


Reed Green served a stint from 1937-1948. Through his five years in the SIAA, the Golden Eagles finished with a combined 34-11-4 overall record. Additionally, they finished undefeated in 1941. In 1942, the Golden Eagles went Independent and finished 4-0. The Eagles didn’t play from 1943-1945 due to World War II. In 1946, the team returned and finished with a 7-3 record. They clinched a berth in the Bacardi Bowl. The year 1948 was Green’s last season at the helm and the Golden Eagles’ first season in the Gulf States Conference. They finished 7-3 overall and won the conference.


Thad Vann is perhaps the most successful coach in Southern Mississippi football history. He was at the helm from 1949-1968. The Golden Eagles won the GSC in back-to-back years in 1950 and 1951. In 1952 and 1953, the Golden Eagles lost just four games combined but lost in the Sun Bowl both years. In 1956 and 1957, the Golden Eagles lost back-to-back bowl games once again. However, in 1958, the Golden Eagles finished with a perfect 9-0 record. They were crowned champions by the United Press International. In 1962, the Golden Eagles finished 9-1 and were crowned National Champions once again. Vann retired in 1968 with a 139–59–2 overall record, an 0-4 bowl record, and two National Championships.


Bobby Collins coached the Golden Eagles from 1975-1981. He led them to five winning seasons and an Independence bowl win in 1980.


Jim Carmody would coach the Golden Eagles next. He led them to five winning seasons during his six-year tenure. Carmody is responsible for getting Hall-of-Fame quarterback Brett Farve signed to Mississippi State.


Curley Hallman coached the Golden Eagles for three seasons. Hallman and Farve put up big numbers. They finished with a 23-13 overall record before Hallman took the head coaching job at LSU.


From 2000 On

Jeff Bower became coach in 1991 and would stay until 2007. Through his first six seasons, Bower led the Golden Eagles to three winning seasons and three losing seasons. In 1996, the Golden Eagles transitioned to the FBS and joined Conference USA. The Golden Eagles won the Conference USA in 1996,1997, and 1999. They also won the conference in 2003 and tied for first place in their division in 2006. Bower ended his stint with a 119–83–1 overall record, a 63-24 conference record and a 6-5 bowl record.


Former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora was hired to become the head coach at Southern Miss in 2008. In his first two seasons, he led the team to identical 7-6 records and back-to-back trips to the New Orleans bowl. The year 2011 was the Golden Eagles’ best season under Fedora, as they posted a 6-2 overall record and won another Conference USA title. Fedora left Southern Miss to become head coach at UNC.


After an abysmal 2012 season, the Golden Eagles hired Todd Monken. He led the Golden Eagles to a combined 4-20 record through his first two seasons. However, in 2015 he led the Golden Eagles to a 9-5 record. They went 5-1 in conference play and won their division. They clinched a berth in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, where they fell to Washington. He left the Golden Eagles to become the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


Jay Hopson was at the helm from 2016-2020. Most of their seasons were slightly above average under Hopson. They never finished with less than six wins. An 8-5 season in 2017 was their best season under Hopson. They finished with a 28–23 overall record and a 1-2 bowl record. Hopson stepped down after one week in 2020.

All-Time Records (CFB)

  • Passing yards

    • Nick Mullins: 11,994

    • Austin Davis: 10,892

    • Brett Farve: 7,695

    • Dustin Almond:7,342

    • Jeff Kelly: 7,095


  • Rushing yards

    • Damion Fletcher: 5,302

    • Ito Smith: 4,538

    • Ben Garry: 3,595

    • Derrick Nix: 3,584

    • Sammy Winder: 3,114

  • Receiving yards

    •  Sherrod Gideon: 3,214

    •  Quez Watkins: 2,404

    •  Todd Pinkston: 2,366

    •  Deandre Brown: 2,207

    •  Jason Brownlee: 2,072

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