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Bill Wilt
Bill  Wilt

Assistant Coach/Defensive Line

Wilt is in his second season as the defensive line coach for the Golden Eagles and his 24th year overall in the profession. His arrival in Hattiesburg helped him reunite with Defensive Coordinator Jay Hopson, as they both served together at Marshall from 1999-2001.

After stepping away from coaching for one year, Bill Wilt joined the Golden Eagle coaching staff as the defensive line coach in 2006 and coached a pair of Conference-USA selections in Robert Henderson and Martavius Prince as part of the "Nasty Bunch" defense.

Last season, the defense led Conference USA in scoring defense, No. 2 in rushing defense, passing and total defense and No. 3 in turnover margin, which was a direct result of improved defensive line play. Nationally, the defense ranked among the top 30 teams in scoring defense and total defense.

Wilt came to Southern Miss after serving on the coaching staff at Marshall from 1999-2004, the first three years as the defensive line coach and the final three as the defensive coordinator, along with his duties as defensive line coach. He also coached the special teams in 2001. During his tenure, the Thundering Herd won four Mid-American Conference Championships and made five bowl appearances, winning four of them.

Marshall led the MAC in defense in 2003 and 2004 and was the No. 2 defense in 2002. He coached four all-conference players and his defensive end, Johnathan Goodard, earned All-America honors in 2004. Wilt was tabbed as the best defensive coordinator in the nation by College Football News in 2005.

In 2003, Marshall was first in total defense, pass defense and held opponents to a league-low first downs and third-down conversions. In his first year as defensive coordinator in 2002, the Marshall defense finished in the top 40 in total defense and top 10 in pass defense. He had three players, Jamus Martin, Toriano Brown and Washington earn all-MAC second-team honors.

In 1999, the Herd defense ranked No. 7 in the nation in total defense and No. 11 against the run. Defensive tackle Giradie Mercer was a first-team All-MAC selection and finished third in the defensive player of the year voting. As the special teams coach in 2001, he had two players, Maurice Hines and Curtis Jones finish in the top 20 nationally in punt and kickoff returns, respectively. Defensive lineman Orlando Washington and Ralph Street earned second team All-MAC honors.

Prior to his six-year tenure at Marshall, Wilt spent 16 years at Western Illinois, serving as defensive coordinator from 1987-98. He coached the defensive line from 1983-85, then coached the defensive line for five years (1986-90), before becoming the linebacker coach for the next six years (1991-97) and coached the defensive line his final season (1998).

Western Illinois won the Gateway Conference in 1998 and was ranked No. 1 in the nation that season. he Leathernecks made five appearances in the CAA I-AA Playoffs during Wilt's time at WIU.

Wilt graduated from Eureka College with a bachelor's egree in physical education in 1977 and arned his master's degree in physical education rom Northeast Missouri State in 1980. He was a our-year starter at ureka, playing two years at linebacker nd two years as an offensive lineman.

He is married to the former Sharon Allen of Quincy, Ill., and the couple has two children, Aaron and Erica.

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