By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Both Andy Kennedy and Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones say Kennedy will be the Rebels’ basketball coach next season.
A measure of doubt was raised regarding Kennedy’s status after Alabama-Birmingham fired its coach, Mike Davis, on March 16.
A popular and successful player at UAB under Gene Bartow, Kennedy’s name was mentioned in various circles in connection with the job almost immediately – even though a wide gap exists between the salaries for the two jobs.
Davis had one year remaining on a contract that paid him $625,000 a year, while Kennedy makes $1.3 million at Ole Miss. Kennedy’s unresolved contract status has added intrigue to the discussion, but his immediate future at Ole Miss appears much more solid following Sunday’s emailed statements.
Kennedy said, “Despite reports to the contrary, I have had no discussions with UAB regarding their head coaching position. I’ve put many years of ‘sweat equity’ into Blazer Basketball, and Birmingham will always be a special place to me and my family, but I am right where I’m supposed to be.
“The privilege of coaching at Ole Miss in the ultra-competitive SEC is something that I will never take for granted, and we will continue in our efforts to move this program forward. There have been numerous milestones met over the last six seasons, and we have many more goals to reach.”
Kennedy said he and UAB athletics director Brian Mackin are “friends,” and he expressed confidence that Mackin will make the best hire for the UAB program.
Extending his deal
Mississippi law allows state contracts to extend for four years, and Kennedy’s was not extended following the 2010-2011 season. When the 2011-2012 season ended, Kennedy had two years remaining on his contract.
Discussions to remake Kennedy’s contract were already under way when Ross Bjork was introduced as the new Ole Miss athletics director on Thursday.
Said Jones: “Andy and I have talked several times over the last couple of weeks and Andy and Ross have had great discussions over the last few days. Andy wants to coach the Rebels and we want Andy to coach the Rebels. As soon as he returns this week from recruiting, we’ll iron out the details, but rest assured Andy is our coach.”
Kennedy is 125-78 at Ole Miss. Only five coaches in the history of the SEC have won more games in their first six years, but the Kennedy has not led the Rebels to the NCAA tournament.
He has overseen five seasons with at least 20 wins, and the Rebels have reached the NIT each time, including this season.