Johnson is introduced at a Southern Mississippi press conference in December, 2011.
AP Sports Writer
HATTIESBURG, MS (AP/WIS) - Southern Mississippi has fired football coach Ellis Johnson after one
Athletic director Jeff Hammond said in a statement Tuesday that Johnson
"will not return in the future as our head football coach."
The 60-year-old Johnson is due a $2.1 million buyout over the next three
The veteran coach has been a successful defensive coordinator at several
schools, including South Carolina, Mississippi State, Alabama and Clemson
before coming to Hattiesburg, Miss.
During Johnson's first season with the Gamecocks, he was one of five finalists for Defensive Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.com. In 2010, the defense finished No. 15 nationally against the run. In
2009, the defense finished No. 15 national in total defense.
That experience didn't translate into success with the Golden Eagles.
Southern Miss finished with a 0-12 record one season after a school-record
12-2 finish that included a win in the Hawaii Bowl. The Golden Eagles were the
only team in the Football Bowl Subdivision not to win a game this year.
"At Southern Miss, we know a winner when we
see one," said President Dr. Martha Dunagin Saunders as she introduced
Johnson to a crowd of Golden Eagle faithful in December, 2011.
"I want to take Southern Miss to a BCS bowl game and win it," said Johnson during his introductory press conference.
Johnson replaced Larry Fedora who took the head coaching job at the University of North Carolina. UNC finished 8-4.