By The Associated Press
OXFORD — For just the second time in his five-year tenure, Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy will not receive a contract extension.
Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone confirmed Thursday Kennedy, who has three years remaining on a contract that pays $1.3 million annually, will not receive an extension. A four-year contract is the longest allowed by state law.
“He made the decision, and I supported the decision,” Kennedy said. “He’s the employer. He has to make the decision that he thinks is in the best interests of the department. I completely understand that. To me, I’ve got enough stability and enough security to do my job effectively.”
The Rebels finished with a 20-14 record this season, losing to California in the first round of the NIT. Ole Miss hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2002, the longest drought in the Southeastern Conference.
Ole Miss loses its top two scorers from this year’s team — senior guards Chris Warren and Zach Graham. Warren ended his career as the Rebels’ third all-time leading scorer with 2,021 career points.
But the Rebels do have a solid nucleus returning. Forwards Terrance Henry and Reginald Buckner have both been starters over the past two seasons, with Buckner among the school’s all-time leaders in blocked shots.
Point guard Dundrecous Nelson had an encouraging freshman season as Warren’s backup and Memphis transfer Jelan Kendrick should provide scoring when he’s eligible in mid-December.
Kennedy hinted strongly that there could be other roster changes. He also didn’t rule out changes with his assistant coaching staff.
Kennedy said he would have individual meetings with players over the next few weeks.
“The roster that you saw in California at the end of the season certainly will not be the same roster that you see in our opener next year,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy also didn’t receive a contract extension following the 2009 season, after he was involved in an altercation with a taxi driver in Cincinnati the night before a game. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.