Ole Miss fires Luke as coach after 3 seasons, 15-21 record

Mississippi quarterback John Rhys Plumlee (10) is consoled by head coach Matt Luke following an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle via AP)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ole Miss dismissed Matt Luke as head football coach Sunday, the University of Mississippi said.

The news comes three days after Luke’s third non-winning season ended with an excruciating rivalry game loss.

“After evaluating the overall trajectory of our football program, we did not see enough momentum on the field and determined a change is necessary in order for our student-athletes to compete at the highest level,” Ole Miss Athletics Director Keith Carter said.

A search is underway for a new head coach, the university said.

“I want to thank Coach Luke for his devotion to Ole Miss,” Carter said. “His integrity, class and dedication to this program and our student-athletes is unsurpassed, and we will always appreciate how he stepped up at a time when his university needed him the most. We wish him the very best, and he will always be a cherished member of the Ole Miss family.”

 Luke, a former Ole Miss offensive lineman, was elevated to interim head coach about two weeks before preseason practice started in 2017 when Mississippi fired Hugh Freeze.

Luke guided the Rebels, who were already banned from the postseason by the NCAA, to a 6-6 season that helped him land a four-year deal through 2021. With the program facing another bowl ban in 2018 and other NCAA sanctions, Luke and the Rebels went 5-7.

Ole Miss finished this season 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the SEC, including a 21-20 loss on Thanksgiving night to Mississippi State.

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