Matt Luke set to hold first press conference since taking the reins of Ole Miss football
This afternoon Matt Luke will hold his first press conference since being named interim head coach of the Ole Miss football program. The 40-year-old Luke was promoted from co-offensive coordinator last Thursday night following the sudden resignation of head coach Hugh Freeze.
Expect Coach Luke to do well in his first presser. His Rebel lineage is deep, as he, himself, started three years at center for the Ole Miss, and both his father and brother suited up in the red and blue.
Luke has the unequivocal support of the players, fans and the administration. “Matt is a great coach,” Athletics Director Ross Bjork said when announcing Thursday that Luke was being promoted to head coach.
“He’s a leader. He’s a rock. He’s an Ole Miss Rebel. And I’m confident – and especially even more confident after watching him address the team – that he will lead this team and program through this difficult time.”
Ross Bjork on Matt Luke
In his first address to the team as head coach, the steady Luke told his players:
“I am an Ole Miss Rebel! I promise you that I will give you my heart and soul–I can guarantee you that.”
Luke has the support not only of his players, but that of their families, as well. Center Sean Rawlings’ mother posted the following on Instagram and Twitter Monday morning:
Honored to have Coach Luke and his Family in my son's life. He is a… https://t.co/3VT4lMtfwu
— Sandy Rawlings (@Toddysmr) July 24, 2017
Luke, who played for Ole Miss from 1995-1998, was a student assistant at Ole Miss in 1999. Though he has spent 10 years as a coach for the Rebels, Luke also has experience elsewhere.
He coached the offensive line at Murray State from 2000-01 and following one season at Ole Miss under then-head coach David Cutcliffe, he went to Tennessee where he was the recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach for two seasons under former Vols coach Phil Fulmer.
Luke later served as offensive coordinator when he reunited with Cutcliffe for four seasons at Duke, before later joining Freeze at Ole Miss in 2012.
Preparing for 2017 with a talented roster
Following the resignation of Freeze, Luke has just a few short weeks to prepare the Rebels before they open the season on September 2 against South Alabama in the Vaught. But beyond his solid coaching experience and the support of Rebels players, fans and staff, Luke has something else going for him– he is the coach of a program that still boasts a very talented roster.
With marquee players such as quarterback Shea Patterson, left tackle Greg Little and receivers A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and Van Jefferson, as well as defensive standouts Marquis Haynes, Breeland Speaks, and Benito Jones, Luke has all the tools necessary for a successful season.
Though he doesn’t yet know if any will consider transferring in the wake of Freeze’s resignation, Bjork made it clear last Thursday that one of his highest priorities is the players on the team. “We will give them space. We will listen,” Bjork said. “And whatever they decide to do, we will support them.”
Where to Watch Luke’s Press Conference:
Coach Luke’s press conference will stream live on SEC Network+, the WatchESPN app, Facebook Live (Ole Miss Football) and OleMissSports.com.
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.