Wednesday update> This one is now official.
A search spanning almost as long as this bizarre college football season itself is nearing an end at Southern Miss, multiple sources told FootballScoop.com on Tuesday.
The Golden Eagles, on their third head coach this season with Tim Billings now the interim in charge, have seen their two previous head coaches gone following Jay Hopson's exit after a season-opening loss to South Alabama and then-interim-coach Scott Walden's mid-season jump for a permanent head coaching opportunity at up-and-coming FCS resident Austin Peay.
After a months-long process to find the next leader of their program, the Golden Eagles have zeroed in on Tulane offensive coordinator Will Hall, who has emerged as a strong candidate to land the head coaching post, multiple sources tell FootballScoop.
“The president wanted a young, up-and-comer,” said one person with direct knowledge of the Southern Miss search.
Hall fits that mark with several years of explosive offenses, first as a head coach at the NCAA Division II level at both West Alabama and West Georgia, where he took both programs into the NCAA Playoffs. Hall then became offensive coordinator at Louisiana, where the Ragin Cajuns averaged more than 28 points per game during the 2017 season.
A year later, Hall continued his upward ascension as the associate head coach at Memphis. Hall, also coaching the tight ends group, helped the Tigers to an American Athletic Conference title game berth against UCF and a Birmingham Bowl bid opposite Wake Forest.
That success helped Hall become the offensive coordinator for Willie Fritz at Tulane, where Fritz has engineered a strong turnaround for the Green Wave program.
In 2019, Hall's Tulane offense ranked among the top 30 offenses nationally with its 33.1 points per contest. The group's 3,162 rushing yards set a single-season Tulane program record.
The 2020 Green Wave are averaging 35.4 points per game on offense and have scored 27 or more points in eight of 10 games. Hall's offenses own 16 games of 30 or more points in his 23 games as Tulane's offensive coordinator.
Sources indicated that Southern Miss had hoped to have its new hire announced by now, with recruiting looming ever-important for all college programs, but Tulane has its final regular-season game scheduled Saturday at home against rival Memphis.
Aside from his offensive-minded approach, Hall also is a Mississippi native with extremely deep ties to the Magnolia State. Playing for his father, noted Mississippi prep coach Bobby Hall, and winning a state championship in 1998 at Amory High School, Hall then won the 2003 Harlan Hill Award, the NCAA DII equivalent to the Heisman, at North Alabama.
Update>Local sports director Jeff Haeger is now reporting the deal is expected to be announced tomorrow.
Wednesday Update> Pete Thamel just tweeted that Hall will be announced later today.