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The State, Tim Dominick, Associated Press
In this photo taken in August, 2011, South Carolina assistant coach Ellis Johnson jogs across the field during NCAA college football practice in Columbia, S.C. Southern Miss and Ellis Johnson have agreed to a deal that would make him the school's next football coach, according to a person familiar with the search. The Hattiesburg (Miss.) American first reported the Golden Eagles' intentions on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Southern Miss has hired veteran defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson to take over its football program.

The 59-year-old Johnson was introduced during a Tuesday press conference on campus. He has spent the past four years as defensive coordinator at South Carolina, and has substantial ties in Mississippi, previously working as defensive coordinator at Mississippi State and Southern Miss.

Johnson replaces Larry Fedora, who left Southern Miss after four seasons to take the North Carolina job. The Golden Eagles just completed their first 10-win season since 1988.

Fedora will be the coach when Southern Miss plays Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24.

It was not known if Johnson would join Southern Miss immediately or remain with the Gamecocks when they face Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2.