Dec. 11, 2012
"It's an honor and a privilege to be the head football coach at the University of Southern Mississippi. I've been coaching a long time and what an unbelievable institution. Just to be a part of it is really, really special. This program has an unbelievable history and tradition that any coach would want to be a part of. When you're in the coaching profession, you want high expectations. You want to be at a place where winning is expected, and this is one of those places. "We start a new era today, which is Southern Miss Football. You have had that history and tradition and just one year of what I call a speed bump. I'm looking forward with great confidence to the future."
"I have already met with the team. My only disappoint is that they get to go home now. That is when I'm in my comfort zone, when I'm with my players. I can see it in their eyes. They didn't forget how to win, how to work and how to compete. They're eager to turn the page. It's the same players that were here two years ago and they haven't forgotten how to win. We just have to change the mindset a little bit and start a fresh set of downs."
"It's time to come together as a university and charter our course for the future and that's exactly what I plan to do."
"Before I go much further, I need to thank some people. First off, my wife Terri. I've been married 21 years and have been coaching the whole time. Sometimes it's really difficult coaching to pick up and have your family follow you. She's been right there every year. She's very supportive. She loves football and loves being a part of the team. Travis, my son. He's 11 years old and my best friend. It's hard moving your kids around, but this is a special opportunity and he understands that. I can't wait to see him running around in black and gold."
"I would like to thanks General (Jeff) Hammond for not only choosing me as his coach but obviously for person that he is and for the opportunity that he has given me. I truly respect that and I promise you that no one has more enthusiasm and excitement for Southern Miss football than he does. I look forward to working with the alumni. His passion is obvious. As we went through the process, it was obvious that this was the place that I needed to be because it was headed in the right direction with his leadership."
"I would like to thank Dr. (Aubrey) Lucas. It was fun being on the plane today with my family and getting to know his family. I look forward to new things on the horizon for the University of Southern Mississippi."
"I would like to thank the search committee. Usually it's an odd thing to thank the search committee. I've been through a few of these and it was an exciting opportunity. It was probably the most enjoyable part of the whole process, just sitting there and getting grilled by them. I like to argue, I like to compete and they got after it right away. They asked some really good questions and the more they got after it the more I got after it and the more I could feel their passion the more they could feel my passion. To me it was obvious that if they offered me the job I was taking it."
"I want to thank Gerry DiNardo. Gerry was the head of the search and he was instrumental throughout the process with information and guiding me throughout."
"I want to thank Oklahoma State University. Mike Holder, the Athletic Director and Mike Gundy, the fellow coaches that I worked with. It's a special place. Stillwater is a great town and Oklahoma State is a great university. I wouldn't be the person or coach that I am today without them. Mike Gundy is a great friend. He gave me a great opportunity to leave the NFL and go to Oklahoma State to coordinate the offense. That was an unbelievable opportunity and I think we made the most of it."
"I want to thank our players at Oklahoma State. I have never won anywhere and achieved success without great players. Players that love their university and play for each other and those kids do. I'll be watching them in the bowl game. It's sad when you have to leave them with one game left, but I'm the coach of Southern Miss and this is where my butt belongs."
"Finally, I would like to thank my two brothers and my mom and dad. Obviously, people get where they get in life through structure and love and family and I'm no different. I've been really lucky that my whole family is involved in coaching. My dad was a high school football coach for 30 years. His four brothers were high school football coaches. All five are in the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame. My brother is a high school head coach in Illinois. My cousin is the head coach at Georgia Southern so it's pretty much in the blood. It's been a great way to grow up, being in a coaching family."
"When the job came open, I knew, again, that I wanted it. I said to my wife, `That job is open again,' and dang it, when you have a history and tradition, and you have coaches like P.W. Underwood and Bobby Collins and the success that Coach (Jeff) Bower and (Larry) Fedora had, you can go down the line. You want to be somewhere where you are expected to win. There was no question in my mind that I was immediately drawn here. Eighteen winning seasons, 10 straight bowl games, five conference championships, 24 years of postseason play. Players like Reggie Collier, Sammy Winder, Ray Guy and Brett Favre. How can you not be excited? Our goal will be to start a new streak and get new players that people will recognize and have careers in the NFL."
"I've recruited down here before coaching at LSU and Louisiana Tech and there was always something about Southern Miss. Kids would always visit Southern Miss. It really didn't matter who else they visited. There was just something special about Southern Miss. There just was. Kids wanted to come here. It's a great community, there's a passion for football and that's something that I want to embrace. But we need everybody. We need everybody involved and that starts with the coaches, the players and the community. Whether it's joining the Eagle Club or buying season tickets for the first time or coming out in the spring. Or if you see our kids out in the community. It picks up their spirits. Every little bit helps."
"Understand this. I grew up in an academic home. My undergrad is in economics and I have my master's degree in educational leadership. The way our players act off the field is important to me. I believe in the whole product. I believe in a player being a pro. That's one thing that we talked about in the NFL. How do you be a pro? How do you act like a pro? That's what I expect of our players. I'm known as a grinder. I like staying late. I like trying to figure it out. I like the puzzle that is coaching football and it's no different with our players and academics and how they act off the field. It all matters."
"I'm excited about digging in the Student Academic Enhancement Program that allows our players to improve not only socially but academically. We've got a product here. We've got a great academic institution with a great business school and honors program and I think that is something to promote when we're out recruiting. Kids want to go somewhere where they can play championship football and get an unbelievable degree."
"I've been fortunate to coach in towns that have a real passion for college football and I expect it to be no different here after all the success that you have had. It's fun to be a part of that. It's fun walking down Eagle Walk and it being packed. Our kids feel that when the community is involved. We're excited about being here in a place that has a passion for the team. One thing you can count on with us is that if we expect you to invest, then you are going to see (my family) out in the community. I told General Hammond, `If you need me somewhere, I'm there.' I understand what college football is about. I really do and I want to be a big part of it. I want everyone to feel a part of it and the only way for everyone to feel a part of it is if we include you."
"I know one thing. We're going to put an exciting brand of football out on the field. There's no question about it that you are going to enjoy watching our product. I want home games to be an experience, beginning with Friday Night at the Fountain. We want our fans to flood the District and have fun. But then obviously, get to the game. Obviously, the way you start a game is so critical. So we like people having fun and if we win, I'll come out there with you."
"Obviously, we need the Rock to be like a 12th man. We need as many people out there yelling, loud and juiced up for our players. They feel it. I promise you they felt it when you weren't there. We need your support. We need it there to make it a hard place to play."
"Signing day is just a couple of months away. I'm already busy at work. The guys that I'm going to bring in and some that are still; obviously we need a great signing class that leads us into the future and will compete every year for a conference championship."
"We're going to try to put the fun back in football. I think it's very hard these days for our players. The days of telling your players `Because I said so' are over. There's so many thing to do these days. To get your kids over there, it has to be fun and I want to make it fun. They will work their butts off but they will have fun. We want them to enjoy being around us and enjoy being a part of the facility. But when it's time to work, it's time to work. What we do on offense is fun. What we do on defense is fun and our kids are going to enjoy being over there."
"On offense, we're going to be no-huddle. That's what (Oklahoma State) did. It's a very quarterback friendly offense. It's very simple. We went from, two years ago where we led the conference and were top five in the nation throwing it all over the place for obvious reasons. We had a first round draft pick at quarterback and first round draft pick at wide out and that was a lot of fun. But last year, we lost all of those good players, played three different quarterbacks and had a good running back and we were second in the conference in rushing. So it's not predicated on rushing or throwing. It's based on what (the defense) does and us being good enough to score. Really, it comes down to doing it better than the defenders."
"On defense, I think that what people have to get used to know is that when teams go to a spread offense, they are going to move the ball. There's too much space. But to be really good on defense we have to have guys play team defense and fly around the ball. They have to create turnovers. They have to get stops and most importantly, you have to affect the quarterback. I think the worst defense, and it comes from an offensive perspective, is when teams lose their absence of fear. When they do that they are never successful. When teams lose their absence of fear and they play careful and don't come after the quarterback, you're not successful. You have to affect the quarterback. That's how you win games. They are going to try to affect our quarterback so we have to try to affect theirs."
"On special teams, our best players have to play on special teams. It's to say you're going to be good on special teams when you're best players aren't out there. I know everyone says that. But all our players talk about wanting to play in the NFL. Well, the easiest way to make an NFL roster is to play on special teams. One thing about playing special teams is that you show your teammates that you're giving it up for them, because that's for your team. It's not about what I'm doing on offense or what I'm doing on defense. I'm giving it up for my team."
"I want to thank you again for coming again. This really is a special day for me. As excited as you are about this, it's ten times more exciting for me. I waited 46 years for this opportunity. My whole life has been in football, and I promise you, I'm excited."
A Message from Coach Monken
A Message from General Hammond and Coach Monken
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