OXFORD, Miss. — Despite being one of the most successful leaders in program history, Ole Miss head softball coach Mike Smith seems to be on the hot seat in Oxford.
Smith has been placed on administrative leave due to what the university is calling an “external audit” of the softball program. It seems to be a giant warning flag for one of the most successful coaches in program history.
Prior to smith’s tenure in Oxford, the Rebels had never made the NCAA tournament. Under smith, they’ve now made four straight trips, including 2019, when they advanced to the Super Regionals.
But there have been warning signs before — Smith was suspended for the first series that campaign, for what the school called “failure to meet expectations.”
We reached out to ole miss administration, but they declined our interview requests. Students that we spoke with were concerned to hear about this disciplinary pattern for a high-profile head coach.
“Definitely seems like something’s odd," said Ole Miss senior Madison Scarpino. "I’m sure that there’s going to be something that comes out. It is really odd, and I wonder if the team knows what’s going on.”
Ali watts, another Ole Miss senior, called it "pretty shocking."
"I’d be interested to hear the full story. That’s crazy they’re not releasing everything right now,” she said.
WREG filed information requests for the paperwork that led to Smith’s leave, but state laws protect his personnel file.
Ole Miss did send a copy of Smith’s contract. Records show he signed just a one-year extension over the summer.
Why wouldn’t Ole Miss want to sign the most successful coach in program history to a long-term deal?
For now, Ole Miss softball hangs in limbo, waiting for the school to decide the fate of the man who turned it around.