Ole Miss interim Chancellor Larry Sparks announced Monday Keith Carter is the interim athletics director for the university. Carter is taking the reins after former athletic director Ross Bjork left Ole Miss for Texas A&M over the weekend. The Bjork announcement came in the middle of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament, which wrapped up yesterday.
A former basketball All-American at Ole Miss, Carter joined the athletics department 10 years ago and has been instrumental in guiding fundraising efforts with the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation since 2012. Under his leadership, Ole Miss completed the historic Forward Together campaign that meant hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, construction of the state of the art basketball arena, The Pavilion at Ole Miss for basketball, and renovations to almost every athletics facility on campus.
“As a student-athlete and administrator, I have experienced tremendous heights at Ole Miss and share a deep passion for this university,” Carter said, in a university release. “Our athletics department has great momentum, and I want to ensure that our program continues on its upward rise until permanent leadership is in place. With our outstanding coaches and staff and the support of Rebel Nation, Ole Miss is poised for big things, and I look forward to leading that charge during this time of transition.”
Now, whether or not that interim title is simply lifted when a new chancellor is hired at Ole Miss is up for debate. Carter is an “Ole Miss guy” with a lot of connections to the fanbase and clearly is doing his job well on the revenue side. A new chancellor may want a fresh face, however, to lead what is a massive department with many millions of dollars in revenue and expenses and receiving regular national attention.
A.D. jobs in the SEC are also extremely coveted and considered among the best in the country. Carter has cut his teeth with the Ole Miss athletic department, but a new chancellor could see value in a more diverse background.
For now, Carter is the new sheriff in town for athletics at Ole Miss. And he’s got a baseball regional just four days away then a long summer before the 125th season of Ole Miss football.