Ole Miss was expected to hire former LSU general manager Austin Thomas at some point, per a report from FootballScoop. The Nashville native played a huge role in the Tigers’ recruiting prowess and organizational strategies in regards to the overall football program. But, now it appears that all that prowess and strategic approach will not be in Oxford, according to Ole Miss Spirit’s Ben Garrett.
In a conversation with Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork, Garrett reports that Thomas committed to the Rebels time and time again but never fully committed to being all in.
“Austin knew exactly the process. He committed to us, told us he was in throughout the process. Kept going back and forth. We want people who want to be at Ole Miss. If he doesn’t want to be here, we don’t want him here,” Bjork recalled.
Rebel Grove’s Chase Parham also reported that despite the university getting Thomas’ IAWP waiver (see below) approved by the NCAA, the former LSU staffer still wouldn’t fully commit to joining the staff. And after two months of wasted time, effort, and money, Bjork was not happy.
“We just pulled our offer. We want people who want to be at Ole Miss, and we will move ahead with that as our goal.”
So now what?
Nothing has been finalized yet, but the Rebels still expect to hire former Ole Miss staffer and Alabama assistant Tyler Siskey sometime soon. And now that Thomas will not be joining the staff, that opens up another spot for someone to come on board. Who will Matt Luke and Co. turn to? Will it be a player personnel type hire like Thomas, or someone to be an on-field coach to replace someone and force them to an off-field role? Or will it be an analyst to sit up in the booth and help on offense or defense?
If I had to guess, I think things will start to become clear after National Signing Day next Wednesday. That is of course the main concern at the moment. There are a few coaches who have been mentioned through back channels here and there since November and you can find them here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s a refresher on what the hell the IAWP rule is.