Lame duck head coach Andy Kennedy has suddenly resigned with immediate effect, Ole Miss announced on Sunday, not a week removed from AK’s decision to step down at season’s end. Former Rebel assistant Tony Madlock will coach out the rest of the season in an interim capacity in Kennedy’s stead.
AK made the announcement via a letter to the Ole Miss faithful, explaining in classically Kennedy candor that he feels he’s failed Ole Miss’ players to this point in the season’s abortive campaign, and his decision to leave now constitutes the best scenario for the current Basketsharks to live up to the standard of Ole Miss hoops.
His letter reads, in part:
My announcement on Monday, February 12, declaring my impending resignation was intended to:
1. Lift “the cloud” forming over our program due to continued speculation regarding my future as head coach.
2. Stop any divisive distraction that the speculation was causing among our supporters (Rebel Nation) and all Ross to move forward with securing the next head coach for the program.
3. Relieve any external pressure being felt by our current players.
While I believe the first two of these intended goals were accomplished, the third was not.
It has become readily apparent to me that my continued presence as the head coach is proving detrimental to these players finishing the season in a fashion that is representative of The Standard for this program that has been clearly established and maintained for over a decade; therefore, I believe that it is in everyone’s best interest that I exit my role as head coach effective immediately. We all know that “clean breaks” are always best, and I should have realized this last Monday. My apologies.
Rebel basketball last won a game at Alabama, 78-66, on January 23. Ole Miss is 0-6 since, and dropped both this week’s games after AK’s announcement that he was leaving at season’s end. The Rebels are currently 11-15, with no postseason prospects expected.
Kennedy concludes his tenure in Oxford with 245 wins and 155 losses, far and away the best win-loss percentage in Ole Miss men’s basketball history.
This development comes as a second gut-punch to those of us who felt that Kennedy deserved better by the Ole Miss gig, and we’re not wholly exclusive to the RCR editorial line. In short, this is an ignominious way to leave a program one’s been helming for 12 years, and to see such a vibrant basketball mind bow out in such tail-between-the-legs fashion stings deep in the gut.
Again, and always: AK deserved better by Ole Miss.