- Living up to the tradition of strong defensive play that has long
been a trademark of Southern Miss football is not something defensive
coordinator and former Golden Eagle standout Tyron Nix shrinks from.
a lot of responsibility, but I accept the challenge," Nix said.
"We're going to take it one day at a time, and hopefully we'll
reach the heights that we're capable of reaching."
is music to the ears of Southern Miss football fans, as is Nix's
harkening back to the nickname that has characterized some of the
great Golden Eagle defenses.
that we're going to try to do defensively is we're going to continue
the 'Nasty Bunch,'" Nix said, "and live up to the expectations
that Southern Miss defense has carried on throughout the years.
not where we're starting traditions. The foundation has been laid,
and we're trying to add to it."
Nix, a former
Golden Eagle team captain, is high on this year's defense, which
he says has a chance to be among the best the team has fielded in
very excited, very optimistic about our senior class, and the leadership
that we've been receiving from this group of seniors," Nix
said. "We feel like they have some of the qualities that it's
going to take for us to be a championship caliber defense. We feel
that if we stay injury-free, we have a chance to be one of the better
units we've put on the field in the past several years."
Miss defense has been ranked among the best in the nation in recent
years, so excellence on the field will be nothing new for Nix's
squad. But the coach will have at least one new situation to deal
with this season, and it's a pleasant one - his brother, Derrick,
will be on the sidelines as a member of the Golden Eagle Coaching
- one of the most productive running backs in Southern Miss history
- saw his playing career end this past off season when he underwent
a life-saving kidney transplant.
going to be great him being there with us on the sidelines,"
Tyron Nix said. "I think we will be better."
be happy to have Derrick on the sidelines, Nix said he will miss
the impact his brother had on the field - taking pressure off the
defense by leading sustained drives on the other side of the ball.
probably going to be a little harder, because I relied on him a
little bit when he was on the field to make a play for us,"
the best things about coaching at Southern Miss have been for him,
Nix points first to his boss, Head Coach Jeff Bower.
Bower has been an inspiration to me," Nix said. "He's
helped me grow, and taught me a lot of different things about the
Nix, who has
had offers to coach at other universities but turned them down,
also said the community had a lot to do with his dedication to Southern
Miss. "That's one of the biggest reasons it's hard to leave,
because there is so much love and caring from the people surrounding
Nix and his
wife, Toya, have one son, Tyvari, who is already looking ahead to
being a Golden Eagle someday. Tyvari's favorite number is 43 - the
same number his uncle Derrick wore for Southern Miss.