Southern Miss has an opening for its head football coach position, and a source said Thursday that Indiana defensive coordinator Kane Wommack, who played his college football there, is "on a very short list'' for the opening.
Wommack is 33 years old, and in his second year as Indiana's defensive coordinator after being promoted from linebackers coach by Tom Allen. Wommack has a lot of ties to the state of Mississippi, and his father Dave in a coaching favorite in the state as well.
"There's a lot of respect for Kane here, and his father too, of course,'' the source, who has close ties to the search, said. "Kane played here, and his dad coached here twice. Coached at Ole Miss, too. It would be a perfect fit for Southern Miss for sure, and I think it would be a perfect fit for Kane too, if he's ready to be a head coach.''
Wommack has been on a fast track in the coaching world since telling his dad he wanted to coach after graduation. (Dave said: "Don't do it''). He became an offensive coordinator at only 27 years old, first at Eastern Illinois and then at South Alabama.
He came to Indiana to be reunited with Allen, who's known Kane since he was a kid because Allen and Dave Wommack coached together, first at Arkansas State and then at Ole Miss.
Success leads to potential losses like this. Allen and the Hoosiers won eight games a year ago, and are a team on the rise in college football. After upsetting No. 8 Penn State last week, the Hoosiers are now ranked No. 17 in the country.
The Hoosiers lost a coordinator last year when offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer was hired to be the head coach at Fresno State.
Southern Miss is in Hattiesburg, Miss., and the Golden Eagles play in Conference USA. Jeff Bower coached there from 1991 to 2007 and Wommack played for him. Since then, Southern Miss has had six head coaches.
Jay Hopson, who had been there since 2016, quit after one game this season and then interim coach Scotty Walden left last week after four games to become the head coach at Austin Peay. Southern Miss is 1-4 this season.
Wommack was named on a list of five potential candidates, including Tulane offensive coordinator Will Hall, Miami coordinator Rhett Lashlee, Ole Miss wide receivers coach Derrick Nix and Coastal Carolina head coach Jamie Chadwell.
This story is developing. Stay tuned to Sports Illustrated Indiana for further updates.