The Southern Miss Golden Eagles enter their second season in the Sun Belt with head coach Will Hall steering the program in the right direction. He leads a Southern Miss coaching staff that boasts an exciting mix of excellence and experience at all levels of college football as the Golden Eagles attempt to soar in 2023.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles Coaching Staff
Head Coach, Will Hall
Hall became the 22nd head coach in Southern Miss history when he was hired to be the long-term replacement for Jay Hopson. After steadying the Golden Eagles’ ship during their final season in CUSA, he led the team into the Sun Belt in 2022, helping return the program to bowl eligibility while compiling a seven-win season for just the second time in five seasons.
Hall’s ability to transform the Southern Miss program shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his coaching career to date. During his time as the head coach of West Alabama, he took his team to the DII playoffs while winning two league titles—a feat he repeated at West Georgia. He was twice named Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year for his achievements.
Prior to arriving in Hattiesburg, Hall tasted success as the offensive coordinator at Tulane. His offensive ingenuity comes from his time as a record-setting quarterback at Northwest Mississippi Community College during his playing career. He also won the Harlan Hill Trophy—better known as the DII Heisman—after transferring to North Alabama.
Hall’s college coaching résumé:
- Presbyterian (QB coach, 2004)
- Henderson State (assistant coach, 2005)
- Southwest Baptist (offensive coordinator, 2006)
- Aransas-Monticello (OC, 2007)
- West Alabama (OC, 2008-2010; HC, 2011-2013)
- West Georgia (HC, 2014-2016)
- Louisiana (OC, 2017)
- Memphis (TE coach and associate HC, 2018)
- Tulane (OC, 2019-2020)
- Southern Miss (HC, 2021-2023)
Defensive Coordinator, Dan O’Brien
Dan O’Brien arrived in Hattiesburg in 2021 on head coach Hall’s initial Southern Miss coaching staff. Originally hired to coach the Golden Eagles’ safeties, he was promoted to the role of defensive coordinator ahead of the 2023 college football season. He will remain responsible for the Southern Miss safeties in the upcoming season.
Under his tutelage, the safeties have been a bright spot on the Golden Eagles’ defense. In the past two seasons, five of the top seven tacklers on the team have been coached by O’Brien, who brings defensive experience from stints at Navy and Georgia to the table in his role as defensive coordinator for the 2023 campaign.
O’Brien has rubbed shoulders with some of the most impactful coaches in both the college and professional game. He cut his coaching teeth under Nick Saban and Kirby Smart at Alabama, crossing paths with Smart again later in his career. In 2005, he was an intern under Bill Belichick at the New England Patriots. His full college coaching résumé can be found below.
- Harvard (safeties coach, 2006)
- Alabama (defensive graduate assistant, 2007-2010)
- Elon (defensive back coach, 2011-2013)
- Navy (defensive back coach, safety coach, 2014-2018)
- Georgia (defensive quality control, 2019-2020)
- Southern Miss (safeties coach, 2021-2022; DC and safeties coach, 2023)
Offensive Coordinator, Sam Gregg
A long-time associate of head coach Hall, Sam Gregg was hired as the offensive coordinator ahead of the 2022 college football season. In addition to guiding the program’s offense, Gregg also serves as the offensive line coach on the Southern Miss coaching staff.
Although Gregg arrived in Hattiesburg from three seasons with Liberty, it is the time he spent with Hall at West Georgia and West Alabama that has earned him the reputation as a high-level developer of offensive linemen and a producer of high-scoring offenses.
During his college coaching career—which you can find below—Gregg has coached 17 All-Americans and produced 48 all-conference players during his time working alongside Hall at West Georgia and West Alabama. In his first season in Hattiesburg, he helped running back Frank Gore Jr. establish himself as one of the best backs in all of college football.
- Itawamba Community College (defensive line coach, 2003)
- Memphis (graduate assistant, 2004)
- Southwest Baptist (DL coach, 2005-2006)
- Arkansas-Monticello (DL coach, 2007)
- West Alabama (OL coach, OC, 2008-2013)
- West Georgia (OC, 2014-2018)
- Liberty (OL coach, 2019-2021)
- Southern Miss (OL coach and OC, 2022-2023)
Special Teams Coordinator, Greg Mayer
Special teams coordinator Greg Mayer was one of the first hires of Hall’s Southern Miss coaching staff, joining the program in December 2020. After establishing the Golden Eagles’ special teams unit as one of the best in the conference, he added running back coach to his job title for the 2023 season. Mayer has SEC experience from stints at Georgia and Tennessee.
Tight End Coach, Cayden Cochran
A DII national title winner as a quarterback at Valdosta State, Cayden Cochran transitioned from passing to pass-catching in his first coaching role at Emporia State. He returned to the program as offensive coordinator following a three-year stint coaching quarterbacks at West Georgia, paving the way for him to join the Southern Miss coaching staff as the tight end coach in 2020.
Outside Linebacker Coach, Mark Criner
Southern Miss outside linebacker coach Mark Criner has had a long and varied coaching career leading up to his arrival in Hattiesburg for the 2021 season. He began his career at Utah State in 1991 and has had stints at all levels of the college game, plus two spells in each era of the XFL—coaching the Las Vegas Outlaws in 2000 and the Seattle Dragons in 2020.
Quarterback Coach, Jordy Joseph
A former quarterback at Tulane from 2011-2015, Jordy Joseph began his coaching career at his alma mater, where he spent some time working under Hall during the Southern Miss head coach’s tenure as the offensive coordinator.
Joseph has spent the last two seasons working with the program’s running backs but makes the move to QB coach for the 2023 college campaign.
Defensive Line Coach, Brandon Lacy
A former defensive end for Kansas and UT-Martin, Brandon Lacy began his coaching journey at Appalachian State when they were still in the FCS. While he spent the longest part of his career at Southeastern Louisiana—where he was also the run game coordinator—Lacy had spells at Rice and Richmond before joining the Southern Miss coaching staff as the DL coach in 2021.
Wide Receiver Coach, Desmond Lindsey
Another coach on the Southern Miss coaching staff with experience at West Georgia and West Alabama, Desmond Lindsey is in his second stint with the Golden Eagles, having coached TEs (2016) and WRs (2017) previously. He returned to Hattiesburg as the WR coach and pass game coordinator after spending time with Arkansas State and Memphis.
Inside Linebacker Coach, Chad Williams
Not just a member of the Southern Miss coaching staff since 2021, Chad Williams is an M-Club Hall of Fame enshrinee who helped the Golden Eagles to a CUSA title in 1999. Williams parlayed his expertise in playing the CB position into coaching DBs, coming back to Hattiesburg in 2021 to coach CBs. He transitions to ILB coach and run game coordinator for 2023.
Cornerback Coach, Dwike Wilson
A championship winner at Hinds Community College, Dwike Wilson spent two years as a student assistant at Ole Miss before establishing himself as a standout defensive mind across multiple JUCO programs—including his alma mater.
He transitioned to the FBS with Indiana in 2019 before helping establish the South Alabama secondary as one of the best in the Sun Belt. Dwike joins the Southern Miss coaching staff as the cornerback coach for the 2023 college football season.