“Following a thorough assessment of our football program, I made the recommendation to our University President that we not retain Ellis Johnson as our head football coach. Dr. Lucas accepted my recommendation and earlier this morning I informed Ellis Johnson that he will not return in the future as our head football coach. At Southern Miss we expect to compete hard and succeed both in the classroom and on the field. This is not the exception…This is in fact the standard, the norm, our identity and who we are. In this regard, we have already initiated a search for a new head coach. We will move rapidly in this effort seeking a dynamic leader with the character to lead our program back to prominence. Today marks a new beginning, a new season and a new start. Thus I ask all members of the Southern Miss Family for your support, now more than ever."