Last week, it was announced that Andy Kennedy would resign at the end of the season, and he was expected to finish out the season, but his tenure ended sooner than expected.
After last night’s 79-62 loss to Mississippi State (the team’s 7th straight loss), Ole Miss has confirmed that Kennedy will step away, effective immediately. In a statement, Kennedy says that last week’s announcement was meant to help ease the minds of the players, but he now feels that a “clean break” is a better solution.
My announcement on Monday, February 12, declaring my impending resignation was intended to:
- Lift “the cloud” forming over our program due to continued speculation regarding my future as head coach.
- 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.
- 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.
As I’ve stated before, I am Very Thankful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Head Coach for Men’s Basketball at The University of Mississippi for 12 years! This Community, this University, the SEC, have all overwhelmed me and my family with incredible grace and support. We will forever be woven into the fabric of this Very Special place – “Hell Yeah, Damn Right!!”
Tony Madlock, an assistant on Kennedy’s staff, will take over as the interim coach for the remainder of the season. The Rebels have four games remaining in the regular season.
Ole Miss Athletics Director, Ross Bjork, agrees that the announcement did not bring the desired outcome, as the Rebels have lost both games since by double digits. Bjork says that he spoke with Kennedy, and they both feel this is a good decision for the sake of the players.
“Andy and I spoke this morning, and I fully support his decision to step away today. While we had hoped to relieve some pressure with last week’s announcement, it simply did not work out that way,” Bjork said. “Our student-athletes are the most important aspect of our athletics program, and we must always put them in the best position for success, no matter what. Coach Kennedy will always be remembered as an Ole Miss Rebel, and we wish him the best.”
Kennedy will leave Ole Miss as the program’s all-time winningest coach with a record of 245-156. During his 12 years at the helm, the Rebels reached the NCAA tournament twice and won the SEC tournament in 2013. The Rebels’ record sits at 11-16 and they will likely finish below .500, but Ole Miss is one of 14 teams in the country to have 11 straight winning seasons.
Related: Andy Kennedy steps down after 12 seasons at Ole Miss
Ole Miss will next take the court on the road at Missouri on Tuesday.