University Of Southern Mississippi

1982-84 Golden Eagles
(Authentic Reproduction)




Taking Bobby Collins place as the new head coach was Jim Carmody, the former Tulane lineman who in his numerous coaching stops, had been the defensive coordinator at USM from ’78 through 1981. His nickname as a younger man had been “Mad Dog” but at Southern Miss he was known as “Big Nasty” and thus came the name “The Nasty Bunch” for the excellent defensive units he had molded at Southern. Following a typical road map to a head coaching position, Carmody first coached while stationed in Korea with the military in 1957, returned to his high school alma mater, Holy Cross of New Orleans, served as freshmen team coach for Tulane and Kentucky, and then as a defensive assistant at Mississippi State, North Carolina, and Ole Miss before coming to USM as defensive coordinator in 1978. His one year with the Buffalo Bills saw their defense improve significantly and he was a popular choice to replace Collins. He introduced a new helmet design, utilizing the black shell that had become a USM standard. He dressed it with a one-inch white center stripe, three-quarter-inch gold flanking stripes, and the word “Eagles” on each side, allowing it to stand out in white lettering and white underlining. Utilizing the I- Formation, the offense continued rolling under Reggie Collier’s leadership and the running of tailback Sam DeJarnette, an Auburn transfer who had returned a kick 100 yards against Georgia his frosh season before sitting out a year as a USM redshirt. DeJarnette replaced Sammy Winder nicely, posting 1545 rushing yards, the fifth best total in the country and scoring fifteen touchdowns. 304 of those yards came in a record setting day against Florida State. Despite the big day against Florida State, the Eagles lost, one of three straight including a last second defeat by Auburn on a controversial call. Winning five in a row including a 20-14 victory over Mississippi State righted the ship as fullback Clemon Terrell, tackle Glen Howe, and center Steve Carmody, the coach’s son, blocked effectively, and receiver Louis Lipps pulled in thirty-eight passes. As usual, it was the Nasty Bunch unit that held things together for a 7-4 year, led by Honorable Mention All Americans noseguard Jerald Baylis and defensive end George Tillman. Defensive tackle Moochie Allen played with the USFL Birmingham club in ’83. DB Bud Brown contributed five interceptions, in a good secondary with Eddie Ray Walker who was with Arizona of the USFL in 1983, and then played for Saskatchewan in the CFL from ’85 through ’88, Bruce Miller, and Mike Alford. Kicker Steve Clark had accumulated 139 points for ’81 and ’82. On November 9th, the NCAA announced the results of an investigation that dated to the ’81 season and found that there were fourteen major violations committed by an assistant coach and others connected to the football program although former head coach Bobby Collins was not culpable. Infractions included illegal financial payments and inducements and punishment would ban the Eagles from bowl games in 1982 and ’83, keep them off of television in ’83 and ’84, and remove some members of the booster groups from having contact with the program. Looking to their November 13 game, the squad anointed the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium the “Bama Bowl” and Carmody became the first rookie coach to defeat Bear Bryant. As significantly, the game snapped a home game winning streak posted by the Bear that dated to 1963.

Considered to be one of the all time greats of Southern Miss football, Reggie Collier would not have played such a “worldly” game if his religious grandparents, the Nances, had their way. They did however relent, and the underweight Collier went on to lead his D’Iberville, MS High School team to an undefeated 1979 season and topped it off by being named the MVP in the Mississippi High School All Star Game. At USM he earned honors as an Honorable Mention All American as a sophomore, two time Third Team All American, and became the first quarterback in NCAA history to both rush and pass for 1000 or more yards in the same season. His record as a starter was 24-8-1 and he delivered historical victories over Alabama, Ole Miss, and the other major programs the Golden Eagles faced during his storied career. He finished with 3662 passing yards, 2304 rushing yards, and twenty-six touchdowns and almost always delivered in the clutch as team captain and leader. Collier’s professional career did not go as well but he did put up 4101 passing yards and twenty touchdowns while rushing for seventeen more in three seasons with the USFL where he was the third player taken in their ’83 draft. When it was all said and done, Collier had played for the USFL Stallions, Federals, and Orlando Renegades, and in the NFL with the Cowboys and Steelers in 1986 and ’87. He completed his pro career with two seasons in the Arena League before returning to Southern Miss in an administrative capacity and enjoying his status as one of only three Golden Eagles to have their jersey number retired and as a member of the school and state’s Athletic Halls Of Fame. Bear Bryant described Collier as “…a super athlete…He makes it a one-man game.” For USM he was and remains an all time great.

The ascension of the Southern Mississippi program under the tutelage of Bobby Collins and Jim Carmody made them a feared opponent. The trend and well earned reputation as a “spoiler” continued through Carmody’s reign which lasted through the 1987 season. He had compiled an overall 37-29 record and only 1984’s 4-7 result was a losing season. He sent numerous players into the pros, including receiver Louis Lipps who had a productive career with the Steelers, defensive end Richard Byrd with the Oilers, and defensive back Bud Brown with the Dolphins. He was able to recruit well against SEC rivals and was usually very competitive. However, his term was marked by a second NCAA penalty for the 1984 recruiting violations related to Brandon, MS star Don Palmer and attendance had declined. Five days after the end of the ’87 season, Carmody was asked to resign and Curley Hallman was named the new head coach. Carmody landed on his feet, later becoming a leading assistant on the Ole Miss staff and then working for the Arizona Cardinals as a defensive assistant and scout. He was honored as a member of his Copiah-Lincoln CC Hall Of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall Of Fame. Hallman, despite the presence of USM icon Brett Favre, did not fare well and gave way to former USM quarterback Jeff Bower who was extremely successful during his term as head coach, establishing once again, the Golden Eagles mantra of “Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime.”

If interested in any of these Southern Mississippi helmets please click on the photos below.