The UAB Blazers mens basketball program - never thought you'd see us write about them, huh? - finished a paltry 15-16 this season. Expectedly, this led to the termination of the Blazers' Mike Davis, despite his CUSA title and NCAA tournament appearance just last season. Unexpectedly, though, was the administration's reasoning behind the move. While one musn't scramble for an excuse to fire a 15-16 head basketball coach, UAB is citing continuously poor attendance at Birmingham's Bartow Arena as reason to fire Davis. They want a renewed sense of excitement to surround their program, and rumors have it that they know just the guy to do that: Andy Kennedy.
Yes, our Andy Kennedy, the very Andy Kennedy that so many of our fans would rather have fired. The very Andy Kennedy who has kept our program perpetually on the NCAA tournament and achieved nothing more noteworthy than an NIT final four appearance. The very Andy Kennedy whose most memorable moment as the Ole Miss Rebel head coach involved the battered face of a Cincinnati cabbie.
To be fair, though, he is also the Andy Kennedy who did pump excitement into our program during his first few years in Oxford. He has recruited well, and it seems that he can coach well when the times get tough. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that he, along with the proposed new arena, has somehow injected a level of expectations and anticipation throughout the Ole Miss basketball fan base not seen in a decade.
Not to mention that he's a UAB alum who had a lot of success on the Blazer basketball team during his time in Birmingham, so there's some draw for him there.
While the future of his contract is uncertain, I can't say I want Andy Kennedy gone right now. He did show some flashes of coaching aptitude towards the end of the season. He has put together a team that can play to his coaching strengths (and seems to only add more players to that mix this year). He is also about to get a new arena, something which should bolster fan support and recruiting draw, as illogical as that may sound at first.
Then again were UAB to snatch him away - something that any thinking person would assume to be highly unlikely due to their conference and salary possibilities - I can't say I'd be too terribly upset about it. WVTNRebel, bball, and others discussed this in a fanpost earlier, but I'd like to open the floor up for everyone on this one: what are your thoughts on Andy Kennedy's possible, yet improbable departure from Ole Miss to UAB?