BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana defensive coordinator Kane Wommack has accepted the head coaching job at South Alabama, the school announced on Saturday afternoon.
Wommack, 33, has been the defensive coordinator at Indiana for two years, and was also the Hoosiers' linebacker coach in 2018. Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator at South Alabama for two years.
The hiring at the Mobile, Ala., school will make Wommack the youngest head coach in FBS. Kent State’s Sean Lewis had been the youngest at age 34. A formal announcement is expected later today.
"To be the head coach at the University of South Alabama is the opportunity of a lifetime! Melissa and I could not be more excited to return to a city that we love," Wommack said Saturday afternoon in a statement from South Alabama. "Believing in all that this community has to offer, we proudly join a team of exceptional leaders in steering the Jaguar football program to reach its greatest potential.
"My staff and I will lead the Jaguars with a respect that honors those who have built this program; relational coaching that transforms the lives of our student-athletes; and, a contagious intensity that ignites and expands our great fan base. Our best is yet to come, GO JAGS!"
Wommack will replace Steve Campbell, who was fired last weekend after posting a 9-26 record in three seasons. The Jaguars finished 4-7 this year. and Campbell was sent packing after the final game of the season, a 29-0 home loss to Troy last Saturday.
Wommack, the son of long-time college coach Dave Wommack, has moved up the ranks quickly during his coaching career. After playing at Arkansas and Southern Miss, he started his coaching career as quarterbacks coach at UT-Martin 2010, then worked as a graduate assistant at both Jacksonville State and Ole Miss before getting his first defensive coordinator job at Eastern Illinois in 2014. He was there for two years before moving to South Alabama, where he coached for two years under former coach Joey Jones.
"We are extremely excited to have Kane as the new leader for our football program," South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann said. "We conducted a national search that included many tremendous participants, and at the end of that process it became obvious to me who is the best fit for us at this point in time and as we look to the future."
Indiana coach Tom Allen and Dave Wommack have worked together in the past, so he's known Kane since he was in the seventh grade. He's been thrilled with what Wommack has done with Indiana's defense the past two years, after Allen gave up play-calling duties in 2018 and handed them over to Wommack.
Indiana has posted a 14-6 record in the past two years during Wommack's time s defensive coordinator. Indiana finished second in the Big Ten East this year, with its only loss a 42-35 result at Ohio State on Nov. 21. Last year, Indiana lost a coordinator as well when Kalen DeBoer left after one year to become the head coach at Fresno State.
It's not yet known what Wommack will do with the rest of Indiana's season. The Hoosiers were forced to cancel their game with Purdue this week after both teams reported COVID-19 issues inside their respective programs. The Hoosiers are supposed to play another game next week against a yet-to-be-determined Big Ten crossover opponent. A high-profile bowl game also awaits for Indiana, which is 6-1 this year and ranked No. 8 in the country.
Wommack's defense currently leads the nation in interceptions. He has already updated his Twitter account.
South Alabama plays in the Sun Belt Conference. They've only been playing football since 2009, but they've also made a big commitment to football. The school opened its own on-campus stadium this season.
CBS's Bruce Feldman said that Dwike Wilson, Indiana's director of player personnel, is expected to join Wommack's new staff at South Alabama as an on-field defensive coach. Wilson has strong recruiting ties in the South as a coach in the Mississippi junior college ranks.
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