Tim Billings takes over USM defense

Tim Billings takes over USM defense

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Tim Billings has over 30 years of coaching experience – mainly in the college ranks.

But for two years prior to coming to Southern Miss, Billings was coaching high school football in Paris, Texas. It took only the right opportunity for him to go back to college – a job at USM was the deal-breaker.

"I thought I was going to semi-retire so I had been in college for over 30 years," Billings said. "Coach [Jay] Hopson called me and wanted me to come help. My wife and I decided to take the track back into college. When you're in the coaching profession, you know a lot of coaches and about a lot of schools. The defensive tradition here has always been so impressive especially with how they play, the "Nasty Bunch."

The Golden Eagles got back to their "Nasty Bunch" ways in Billings' first year on staff – ranking No. 20 in total defense last season.

Billings takes over as defensive coordinator this fall for the first time since 1999 when he was at Marshall. The Herd went 13-0 that season with current USM head coach Jay Hopson coaching the secondary."

"With [Randy] Moss, [Chad] Pennington, [Byron] Leftwich and all those guys, we were good on offense," Billings said. "But we led the nation in defense a few years too. It always makes your offense better when you have a good defense. [Hopson and I] developed the same type of philosophy when it comes to defense and winning programs. It was an easy transition for me to come back and work for him."

"I coached with [Billings] at Marshall, I was blessed when we were together there," Hopson said. "Back in the '90s, I think we might've finished number one or two in the country in total and scoring defense. The bottom line is, he's an excellent football coach with a lot of knowledge, lot of experience. He was the logical choice for sure. I love him to death and he's just a great coach."

Besides his 10 years at Marshall (1990-99), Billings has made stops at Memphis, Wake Forest, Missouri and was a grad assistant on the 1985 Oklahoma national title team.

He's seen a lot of football – but Billings still learns new things about the game every time he takes the field.

"Especially the offenses these days, how they've changed and really stretched the defenses," Billings said. "The game has changed and when you quit changing with the game, you're lost. That's what makes this game so fun and that's why I'm still in it. I'm still learning every day."