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Mississippi head coach Matt Luke speaks during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Ole Miss head coaching hunt

The Ole Miss Rebels finished their season 4-8 after a loss to in-state rival Mississippi State on Thanksgiving. On Sunday, news broke that head coach Matt Luke was fired after spending three seasons with the Rebels achieving a 15-21 overall record.

Luke’s Tenure at Ole Miss

Luke, former assistant coach at Ole Miss, was named interim head coach back in 2017 after Hugh Freeze’s firing. The Rebels went 6-6 in his interim year and decided to retain Luke. In his time at Mississippi the team never finished better than sixth in the SEC West and did not have any bowl game appearances. According to Ole Miss athletic director, Keith Carter, it was time for a program change.

With Luke’s firing, there are now three head coaching vacancies in the SEC. Both Arkansas and Missouri are also searching for a new head football coach. Ole Miss is moving fast; the search is underway in Oxford.

“We want energy, passion and a track record for success,” said Carter.

Potential Candidates

Some possible candidates to replace Luke are:

  • Mike Norvell– Norvell has led a winning program at Memphis for the past four years. Currently, Memphis is 11-1, and the team is preparing to face Cincinnati in the AAC title game on Saturday. With a win, the Memphis Tigers would be AAC champions for the fourth consecutive year and would likely make it into a New Year’s Six bowl game. Because of Norvell’s offensive background and proximity to Ole Miss, it would not be surprising if Mississippi goes after him. It is only a matter of time before Norvell makes the jump to a Power 5 school.
Dec 13, 2016; Boca Raton, FL, USA; A general view of the scoreboard welcoming new Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Lane Kiffin at FAU Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
  • Lane Kiffin– Kiffin, FAU head coach, has experience in the SEC and on championship staffs. In his three seasons at FAU, Kiffin has led the program to two Conference USA East Division titles.
  • Billy Napier– Head coach of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Billy Napier has guided the team to a 10-2 season and a berth in the Sun Belt Conference championship game. Napier has a strong offensive background having served as an assistant on Alabama, Clemson and Arizona State’s staffs.
  • Mike Leach– Leach, Washington State head coach, has gone 55-46 in eight seasons with the program. Prior to Washington State, Leach was the Texas Tech head coach for 10 seasons. He led the Red Raiders to winning records in all 10 seasons. Reports say that Arkansas has already met with Leach to discuss their vacancy.

About Maddie Schmidt

Maddie Schmidt's goal is to become a college football reporter. Be sure to check out her sports blog, mygamedaygal.com.

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