- Associated Press - Saturday, January 30, 2016

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Southern Mississippi hired Alcorn State’s Jay Hopson as its next football coach.

Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis announced the hiring Saturday night on Twitter. Hopson replaces Todd Monken, who left last week after three seasons to become the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McGillis says Hopson will be introduced at the school on Monday.

Hopson became the first white head football coach in Southwestern Athletic Conference history in 2012 when he took over at Alcorn State, which is a historically black university. The Braves had a 32-17 record during his tenure and won a SWAC championship in each of the past two seasons.

The Vicksburg, Mississippi, native has been a Southern Miss assistant coach twice in the past - both under Jeff Bower during the 2000s. Hopson played football at Ole Miss from 1998 to 2001 and was also an assistant coach with the Rebels in 2004.

Hopson takes over a Southern Miss program that’s coming off a resurgent 9-5 season. The Golden Eagles won the Conference USA Western Division before losing to Western Kentucky in the league title game.

The timing of Monken’s departure - less than two weeks before recruits pick their schools on national signing day - stunned Southern Miss and has threatened to slow the program’s momentum.

With that in mind, Hopson’s first task will be holding the program’s recruiting class together. McGillis said on Twitter that Hopson would immediately start recruiting on Sunday before being introduced on campus Monday.

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