As reported first by Neal McCready of Rebel Grove, Ole Miss and newly-annointed athletic director Keith Carter have announced football head coach Matt Luke is no longer the head coach after a 4-8 season that was as tumultuous as it was interesting. Ole Miss put up tons of points and yards on Alabama and LSU yet potential wins against Cal, Texas A&M, and Auburn slip away, moving Luke’s career record as a head coach to just 15-21.
Furthermore, his struggles in the SEC sans Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt saw his conference record plummet to just 6-18.
The university released some official statements on the firing:
“After evaluating the overall trajectory of our football program, we did not see enough momentum on the field and determined a change is necessary in order for our student-athletes to compete at the highest level,” Carter said. “While improvements were evident in certain aspects of the program, we are judged ultimately by our record, and, unfortunately, we did not meet the standard of success that we expect from our program. We will always be grateful to Coach Luke for his leadership, particularly from a recruiting, academic and overall culture standpoint. At the same time, winning is important, and we know that we can compete for championships at Ole Miss.
Carter and the university also mentioned that they are working on finding the next head coach.
“A search is underway to find a new head coach who can build a complete program that attracts top talent, develops them as young men and sustains a winning mentality. We will be looking for the leadership, energy and commitment to excellence necessary to compete in the Southeastern Conference and galvanize our passionate fan base.”
Carter also gave his thoughts on everything.
“I want to thank Coach Luke for his devotion to Ole Miss,” Carter said. “His integrity, class and dedication to this program and our student-athletes is unsurpassed, and we will always appreciate how he stepped up at a time when his university needed him the most. We wish him the very best, and he will always be a cherished member of the Ole Miss family.”
But, it just simply wasn’t enough for him to earn a fourth year in the always tough SEC West division that now has the likes of Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher, and Gus Malzahn. And with fellow division member Arkansas looking for a replacement for Chad Morris and SEC East member Missouri looking for Barry Odom’s replacement, Carter and Ole Miss knew they needed to act fast.
Obviously, there’s no word yet on a replacement and it will certainly be interesting to see who heads up this search after the last two “national” searches were daggum charades.
Stick with us here at Red Cup Rebellion as this story develops and we start digging into potential replacements for Luke.