The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

December 11, 2012

Golden Eagles hire Monken as coach

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Southern Mississippi raided Oklahoma State for a football coach five years ago.

It worked so well, the Golden Eagles are trying it again.

Southern Miss introduced Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken as its new football coach Tuesday, confident the 46-year-old can return the Golden Eagles to their winning ways after the worst season in school history.

“You want high expectations,” Monken said. “You want to be at a place where winning is expected. And this is one of those places. This is a new era of Southern Miss football. You’ve had that history and tradition — hit what I call a one-year speed bump — but I’m looking with great confidence to the future and not looking back.”

Monken comes to the Golden Eagles after two successful seasons leading the Cowboys’ high-scoring offense, which is averaging nearly 45 points this season. He will not coach with OSU at the Heart of Dallas bowl on Jan. 1, instead starting his job in Hattiesburg immediately.

There’s plenty of work to be done.

Monken replaces Ellis Johnson, who was fired Nov. 27 after going 0-12 in one disappointing season. The shocking freefall came one year after a 12-win season that included a Conference USA championship, No. 19 national ranking and Hawaii Bowl victory.

Monken was confident the Golden Eagles could return to those winning ways soon. He met with the team Tuesday and said the “only disappointment is they get to go home.”

“(The players) didn’t forget how to win, how to work or how to compete,” Monken said. “They’re ready to work.”

Monken’s arrival has to seem like a flashback for Southern Miss fans, who watched five years ago as Larry Fedora was introduced following the 2007 season. The brash Oklahoma State offensive coordinator finished with a 34-19 record over four years — including a 12-2 mark in 2011 — at Southern Miss before leaving to become North Carolina’s coach.

Monken said it was an honor to be compared with Fedora, then turned to humor to illustrate similarities and differences.

“We both like visors,” Monken deadpanned. “But he’s got longer, darker hair than me and uses a little more gel.”

Southern Miss athletic director Jeff Hammond said Monken has a four-year contract, but declined to disclose financial terms. Hammond did say the deal would be similar to Johnson’s, which paid about $750,000 annually.

Johnson — whose defensive-minded pedigree always seemed a poor fit with the Golden Eagles — is owed a $2.1 million buyout over the next three seasons. That’s a further drain for an athletic program already trying to work its way out of about $1 million in debt.

The hire is crucial for Hammond, who is nearing the end of a 1-year contract. He called Monken’s arrival “a return to toughness.”

Monken spent four seasons as the receivers coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars before coming to OSU in 2011. He’s also been an assistant at LSU, Louisiana Tech and Eastern Michigan. He said one of the pulls of the Southern Miss job is a knowledge of the recruiting area, and there are plenty of talented players in a five- or six-hour radius around Hattiesburg.

Now he’ll have to persuade recruits to come to a program that was the only one in the Football Bowl Subdivision without a win last season.

But the program has won lots of games in its recent history. Before Johnson’s one-year debacle, the Golden Eagles had a streak of 18 straight winning seasons and 10 straight bowl appearances.

Southern Miss feels Monken can take them back to those days, and his pass-happy offense is a big reason.

The Cowboys averaged 44.7 points (4th nationally), 548.9 total yards (5th) and 333.4 passing yards (7th) this season after topping the 50-point mark six times in 2011.

He accomplished those gaudy numbers in 2011 with quarterback Brandon Weeden, who was a first-round pick by the Cleveland Browns, but managed the same success while rotating three inexperienced quarterbacks this season, including Enid’s Clint Chelf.

Monken is the latest in a line of successful offensive coordinators under OSU coach Mike Gundy, which includes Fedora and West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.

“He kept our offense going at a high level and we are very grateful for what he did for our program,” Gundy said in a statement. “... Todd comes from a football family. He’s grown up around it his entire life and is very driven. His energy, passion and football knowledge will make him a tremendous asset to Southern Miss football.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Christian Voitik Missed chances, controversial call end Majors' season

    For the second time in a little over 24 hours, the Enid Majors had a lead in the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tournament, and for the second time they couldn’t hold it.
    On Wednesday, it ended their season.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Minors fall in Alva

    The Enid Minors became the first of the South Plains Regional’s two co-hosts to be eliminated, spoiling a 5-0 lead to fall 9-7 to Texas Stix Black Wednesday in an elimination game in Alva.

    July 23, 2014

  • David Clyde Ex-MLBer goes from pitching phenom to Connie Mack coach

    David Clyde was a picture of contentment after his Houston Miracles shut out the Texas Stix Black of the Dallas area 4-0 in the first round of the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Majors fall Majors stumble late, fall to regional losers' bracket

    Cherry Creek, Colo., broke out for six runs in the top of the seventh for a 7-3 come-from-behind victory over the Enid Majors in the first round of the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bob Stoops Sooners, as usual, managing expectations

    High hopes are always attached to Oklahoma and this year is no different with the Sooners entering the 2014 season as a consensus pick to reach the first College Football Playoff.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mike Gundy Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it – former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong's Texas Longhorns.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Charlie Strong Texas’ Strong prefers not talking national title

    Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game.
    The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • A new ACC? New ACC settles into era of stability

    Welcome to the new Atlantic Coast Conference.
    It’s where a founding member is out, a fast-rising program is in, Notre Dame is there, too — sort of — and nobody else is leaving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Devonte Fields TCU’s Fields investigated for alleged assault

    TCU suspended defensive end Devonte Fields on Tuesday pending the results of a police investigation into whether he punched a former girlfriend in the head and threatened her with a gun while shouting, “I should blast you!”

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Minors lose in first round

    Wren Perry and Garrett Scudder combined for a two-hitter as the D-Bats Gallegos of Dallas run-ruled the Enid Minors 8-0 in six innings in the first round of the South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 22, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.