On Monday afternoon, Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy announced he will step down at the end of the season.
OXFORD, Miss. – The run of Ole Miss men’s basketball head coach Andy Kennedy is almost at its end. Monday afternoon, Kennedy announced that he will resign at the end of this season, telling reporters:
“It’s time for a new voice and a new vision for this program going forward. At the end of this season, I will be stepping down as head coach of this university.“
Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy
Alongside Director of Athletics Ross Bjork, Kennedy thanked the fans and school for his time with the Rebels and talked about how blessed he has been to be the head coach at Ole Miss.
Kennedy is one of the most straightforward coaches one can find, so this announcement does not come as a surprise. “For those of you who know me, I’ve always prided myself in being direct and accountable. So with that, I’d like to address this ominous cloud that seems to be surrounding this program.”
Kennedy said he woke up Sunday morning, and knew with conviction that it was time to step down.
‘I want everyone to be on the same side…’
Kennedy said he feels his resignation is the best move for the program moving forward, explaining he is tired of all the focus being on him and his status. “That’s not fair to the players,” he said.
The timing of Kennedy’s resignation may be surprising to many; however, Kennedy said he needed to make a decision, for the fans, the players, and the program.
“I didn’t want people to have to choose a side. I want everyone to be on the same side–and that’s moving this thing forward.“
It’s no secret that Kennedy’s Rebels have struggled this season. There were high expectations for this team, but they currently sit at 11-14 (4-8 SEC), 2nd worst in the SEC, and on a 5-game losing streak.
However, with six games left before the SEC tournament, Coach Kennedy has nothing to lose. His team has shown flashes of excellence this year, like the Rebels’ 78-66 win over Alabama at home earlier this year. Don’t be surprised if this team makes a late run and surprises some folks.
Kennedy will leave Ole Miss as the winningest basketball coach in school history.
Today’s also a good day to revisit AK’s record vs each SEC opponent, compared to the combined records of his predecessors. pic.twitter.com/EdlVgEfvm9
— Kory Keys (@KoryKeys) February 12, 2018
He is the only coach in SEC history to post 11 consecutive winning seasons after taking over a program coming off of 4 straight losing seasons. He tallied nine 20-win seasons–and to put that in perspective, Ole Miss only had seven such seasons in the previous 96 years.
Kennedy, who won the 2013 SEC Tournament and the SEC West, twice, has also been named SEC Coach of the Year, two times.
The list of superlatives goes on and on, as Kennedy has been the best coach in school history, without a doubt. Bjork expressed gratitude for Kennedy’s 12 years of service, and said that AK has made Ole Miss a “destination job.”
Kennedy, who will clearly leave Ole Miss far, far better than when he arrived, closed by expressing his gratitude again.
“I’ve been very, very fortunate to have had this opportunity. I’ve had a lot of great people who have helped. It was pushing a rock uphill for a long time–that’s not the case any longer.“
Next step for the program
Bjork did not elaborate on the upcoming coaching search, as he was just informed yesterday of Kennedy’s plans. However, he did say the process will begin immediately. “We will put a plan together tomorrow. We’ll be aggressive in that.”
Similarly, Bjork said Kennedy’s advice in the upcoming coaching search would be welcomed, as AK is a very respected voice in college basketball.
When Kennedy was asked about any advice he might offer the next head coach, he was as direct and to the point as ever.
“Recruit hard, evaluate well and surround yourself with good people.“
Andy Kennedy’s advice to the next Ole Miss head basketball coach
Andy Kennedy has overseen a metamorphosis for Ole Miss basketball. The program was down and out before his arrival in 2006, but in the twelve years since then, only Kentucky and Florida have more wins than Kennedy and the Rebels.
Kennedy helped bring the Tuohy Center and The Pavilion to Ole Miss, as well as a reputation for being an SEC and national contender.
Thank you, Coach Kennedy. We wish you the best.