Monday saw the departure of longtime Andy Kennedy assistant Bill Armstrong, who accepted a similar post at LSU, as confirmed to the Clarion-Ledger. Armstrong began his tenure with the arrival of Kennedy in 2006, and spent six years as an assistant. He was one of AK’s fiercest recruiters, helping to bag standout guard Terence Davis, among others.
Armstrong played college ball at UAB and was in fact coached by then-assistant man Andy Kennedy from 1998 to 2001.
It’s something of a lateral move for Armstrong, who most assuredly harbors aspirations to be a head coach someday. It could be that he wasn’t big on the hiring of new assistant Rahim Lockhart two weeks ago. It’s also possible that he saw the school’s decision not to extend AK’s contract as a threat to job security. AD Ross Bjork suggested that an extension to Kennedy’s current three-year deal will depend on his ability to produce “a consistent NCAA Tournament team.” If Armstrong had doubts about the attainment of that goal, it could explain why he left to join a first-year head coach in Baton Rouge.
AK’s job security has yet to be seen, but certainly the rise of Davis and arrival of three promising prospects next season could bolster his position in Bjork’s eyes. The shiny new Pavilion—opened in January 2016—is already paying recruiting dividends, with JUCO transfer Bruce Stevens saying that the arena was pivotal in his decision to sign with Ole Miss.
Whether Armstrong sees a bleak future with AK at the helm or somehow disagreed with the hiring of Lockhart isn’t known. In any case, his departure comes as something of a blow to Rebel basketball, especially from the recruiting end, and his services and contacts will now by enjoyed in Baton Rouge. Happy trails, coach.
Rebel softball heads to the SEC tournament this week.
The Rebel softballers commence the conference tournament Wednesday against No. 9 seed Mississippi State in Knoxville. The conference is stacked top to bottom with national contenders, and if the Ole Miss women beat State on Wednesday they get a date with top-seeded Florida, who finished the year with an astonishing 50-5 record.
Graduate transfer Cullen Neal lands at St. Mary’s.
Neal, who many had hoped would replace the production lost with the graduation of Stefan Moody, never quite panned out in Oxford. He wore his starter role rather uncomfortably, but did eventually find a groove, such as it was, coming off the bench. He shot 41 percent from out in the county and averaged 9.2 points per game.
Now, though, he’s ended up at St. Mary’s, where he had originally committed out of high school. The Gaels have become a mid-major power of late, vying with Gonzaga for primacy in the West Coast Conference. In this year’s NCAA tournament, they beat VCU in the round of 64 before dropping a second-round game to No. 4 Arizona. It’s yet to be seen how Neal will contribute to St. Mary’s backcourt, but he’s immediately eligible to play in 2017.
Up to 7,000 corpses were discovered beneath the med center in Jackson.
Today in haunted Jackson: POTENTIALLY SEVEN THOUSAND CORPSES LIE UNDER THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI MEDICAL CENTER.
The bodies come from a mental institution built in 1855, and they comprise not just former patients, but also Civil War dead. The fact that bodies are buried on campus isn’t news to most of you Jacksonians — the hospital’s been finding them for years. What’s surprising is the sheer number that have been exposed by recent subterranean radar scans, which indicate the coffins span 20-something acres beneath the campus. The med center is looking to expand into the area where the bodies currently lie, but officials estimate it will cost $3,000 to exhume and re-inter each body, bringing the total cost for such a project to $21 million.
Jackson, Miss.: your new Halloween destination city.