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Andy Kennedy and Ole Miss expected to part ways

Ole Miss Rebels v Arkansas Razorbacks

Ole Miss Rebels v Arkansas Razorbacks

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Andy Kennedy is expected to announce that he is resigning as the head coach of Ole Miss at a presser conference on Monday afternoon, a source confirmed to NBC Sports.

He will coach the remainder of the season.

The news was first reported by Ole Miss Rivals’ site.

“In the final analysis, Coach Kennedy feels he needs a new platform and I believe that our program needs a new voice, a leader who can build upon the foundation that is in place thanks to Andy’s leadership,” athletic director Ross Bjork said.

Kennedy has been the head coach at Ole Miss for the past 12 seasons, becoming the all-time winningest coach in program history in the process. But in that timeframe, he’s been to just two NCAA tournaments and is on track to miss out on the postseason entirely for the second time in three seasons. They are currently 11-14 overall and just 4-8 in the SEC.

“I’ve been truly blessed to have the opportunity to be the head coach at the Southeastern Conference in my home state for 12 years. That is a true blessing. This I know,” Kennedy said, according to the Oxford Eagle. “I also know it’s time for a new voice and new vision for this program moving forward. “I have too much respect for this university. I have too much respect for being a head coach in the SEC to allow any speculation about my job status to create a divisive distraction for this program and the people who support it. I’m at complete peace with this decision.”

This is a tricky decision for the Rebels. I understand the desire to get new blood into a program, but new blood is not always better blood. Ask Pitt fans. They’ll tell you. I’m not sure how many people are going to be able to do what Kennedy did in Oxford. Since he was hired in 2006, the only SEC programs that have amassed more wins have been Kentucky and Florida.

It’s a hard job. It’s a football school in a football conference tucked away in a corner of a state that isn’t exactly known for producing prodigious amounts of basketball talent.

Kennedy has been the head coach for 29 percent of the program’s trips to the NCAA tournament. He won one of their two SEC tournament titles. He got a $96.5 million arena built for the basketball programs. And, as one former staffer told me, he made people at Ole Miss care about basketball.

That, quite frankly, may be what success looks like at that school.

Some names that could replace Kennedy at that program: Middle Tennessee State’s Kermit Davis, East Tennessee State’s Steve Forbes, Georgia State’s Ron Hunter.