Nov. 30, 2011
This time of year in college football always brings a lot of speculation and rumors regarding coaching searches, and this year is no different. During this time Coach Larry Fedora's name becomes associated with any prominent college head football job that becomes available. That is truly a compliment to Larry's coaching ability and the success our football program and student-athletes have enjoyed over the years. Larry and I talk everyday and his entire focus and energy is on winning the C-USA Football Championship. After the season is over, Coach Fedora and I will sit down and discuss his future at Southern Miss. We want to assure everyone that Southern Miss will do everything possible to keep Coach Fedora a Golden Eagle.
The bowl agreement C-USA has with the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl is very complicated. In order to keep an association with the Memphis bowl, the conditions were placed by the bowl to make it a three-way conference agreement between C-USA, the SEC and the Big East. The conditions set by the bowl were if eight SEC teams were bowl eligible, C-USA would play the Big East, if nine were eligible, the SEC would play the Big East and if 10 were eligible, C-USA would play the SEC. With Tennessee's unexpected loss to Kentucky, it left only nine SEC teams available for bowls.
If Georgia upsets LSU, then C-USA could play in the game. There is a provision in the agreement that if the C-USA Champion has to vacate the Liberty Bowl, the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham must take the champion, if desired, with additional compensation. We have several very positive options available to the Golden Eagle football team; the Ticket City Bowl in Dallas vs. a Big Ten opponent on January 2; the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Ft. Worth-Dallas vs. BYU on December 30; or the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl in Honolulu vs. a WAC team on December 24. There are also other potential matchups that could be put together at different bowls. Although we may not play in Memphis, we feel our options will certainly be excellent and will reward our football team for an excellent season.
Congratulations to Austin Davis for winning the 2011 Conerly Award as the most outstanding college football player in Mississippi. Austin has had an incredible four-year career and has set almost every quarterback record at USM. More importantly, he is a true champion both on and off the field. Austin is an incredible leader and we all wish him well in all his future endeavors.
Austin's victory also marked the first time in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame that one institution in the State has won all three college male athlete of the year awards in the same calendar year. Last March, Gary Flowers was named the Bailey Howell Award winner for men's basketball and Tyler Koelling received the Ferris Award in May for baseball. We are most proud of the accomplishments of those three very talented student-athletes and their coaches for putting the Southern Miss Athletics at the forefront of the collegiate programs in Mississippi.
I hope to see everyone in Houston this weekend for the C-USA football championship! Wear your Gold and Be Loud and Proud!