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Mississippi State job has a suitor

Mississippi State job has a suitor

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:07 pm

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson has expressed an interest in the head coaching vacancy at Mississippi State and has had no formal contact with the school, according to Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier told The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C., that he had spoken with Johnson about his interest in the Bulldogs, although the two have not discussed the situation in recent days.
“They’ve got to hire somebody here pretty soon. I would think he’d be a candidate,” Spurrier said on Monday. “I think he did mention a while back that he’s had some conversation with them. But not in the last two days has he mentioned it.”
Johnson said Monday through a USC spokesman that he hasn’t had any formal discussions with Mississippi State officials, but he would not openly discuss his reported interest in the job.
The 56-year-old Johnson was Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator for four seasons under Sylvester Croom, who resigned on Nov. 29 after going 21-38 in five seasons.
Croom resigned quietly following his team’s defeat against Ole Miss in the annual Egg Bowl game at the end of November.
South Carolina is ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference and 11th nationally in total defense in Johnson’s first year in Columbia.
Johnson’s contract includes a buyout that would require him to pay the university $1.05 million if he leaves for another assistant coaching position, but the buyout is waived if Johnson becomes a head coach.
Johnson had a 12-22 record in three seasons as the head coach at The Citadel, a small military college that plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA, before leaving to join Croom’s staff before the 2004 season.
Already this season, the SEC has seen a huge turnover in head coaches.
Long-time Tennessee skipper Phillip Fulmer was forced out amid a 5-7 season and former Oakland Raiders’ coach was hired as his successor.
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville also resigned earlier this month after the conclusion of his team’s season.


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