Less than one week after Jeffrey Vitter resigned as the 17th chancellor of the University of Mississippi, the school has named a temporary replacement. Larry Sparks, the school’s chief finance administrator, will step in as the interim chancellor effective January 4th.
Sparks has worked at Ole Miss since 1997, having served in his current role as Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance since 2006.
“It is an honor to serve the university during this time of transition,” Sparks said in a statement. “I have had the privilege of spending the majority of my career at the University of Mississippi and look forward to serving with a strong team of leaders that will continue moving the university forward.”
He’s a Rebel through-and-through, an Oxford native who got his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ole Miss. He later moved over to Mississippi College for his masters of business administration.
Vitter will still be on campus for a while, stepping down to become a tenured professor in computer science. Vitter, who was hired away from the University of Kansas in 2015, is the shortest-tenured Ole Miss chancellor since George Holmes who retired a year after the school’s founding back in 1848.
Though the job of a chancellor encompasses much more than the athletic department, Vitter will be remembered by fans for his handling of the NCAA’s investigation into Ole Miss football, which brought heaps of negative press, a two-year bowl ban and, indirectly, the firing of the most successful football coach since Johnny Vaught.