A person with knowledge of the search says Southern Miss and Ellis Johnson have agreed to a deal that would make him the school's next football coach.
The Hattiesburg (Miss.) American first reported the Golden Eagles' intentions on Tuesday.
Johnson's hiring could be announced as early as Tuesday, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there won't be an announcement until the deal is official. The person said final details of the contract were still being discussed.
The 59-year-old Johnson is a veteran defensive coach who has spent the past four years as defensive coordinator at South Carolina. He has also worked at Mississippi State and Southern Miss.
Johnson replaces Larry Fedora, who left Southern Miss after four seasons to take the job at North Carolina.