OXFORD, Miss. – Andy Kennedy, the winningest basketball coach in Ole Miss history, has stepped down as head coach of the program effective immediately. Tony Madlock, an assistant on Kennedy’s staff, will serve as acting head coach for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.
Madlock, who boasts more than 20 years of collegiate coaching experience, is in his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Rebels.
Statement from Andy Kennedy
My announcement on Monday, February 12, declaring my impending resignation was intended to:
1. Lift “the cloud” forming over our program due to continued speculation regarding my future as head coach.
2. Stop any divisive distraction that the speculation was causing among our supporters (Rebel Nation) and all Ross to move forward with securing the next head coach for the program.
3. Relieve any external pressure being felt by our current players.
While I believe the first two of these intended goals were accomplished, the third was not.
It has become readily apparent to me that my continued presence as the head coach is proving detrimental to these players finishing the season in a fashion that is representative of The Standard for this program that has been clearly established and maintained for over a decade; therefore, I believe that it is in everyone’s best interest that I exit my role as head coach effective immediately. We all know that “clean breaks” are always best, and I should have realized this last Monday. My apologies.
As I’ve stated before, I am Very Thankful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Head Coach for Men’s Basketball at The University of Mississippi for 12 years! This Community, this University, the SEC, have all overwhelmed me and my family with incredible grace and support. We will forever be woven into the fabric of this Very Special place – “Hell Yeah, Damn Right!!”
Statement from Ross Bjork – Ole Miss Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics
“Andy and I spoke this morning, and I fully support his decision to step away today. While we had hoped to relieve some pressure with last week’s announcement, it simply did not work out that way. Our student-athletes are the most important aspect of our athletics program, and we must always put them in the best position for success, no matter what. Coach Kennedy will always be remembered as an Ole Miss Rebel, and we wish him the best.”
In his 12 seasons in Oxford, Kennedy held a 245-156 record as coach of the Rebels. His 401 games as Ole Miss head coach are the 10th-most by a coach at one school in SEC history. With 11 postseason wins, eight postseason berths, nine 20-win seasons, two NCAA Tournament appearances, two NIT Final Fours, two SEC West titles and an SEC Tournament Championship, the two-time SEC Coach of the Year leaves Ole Miss as the winningest coach in program history. Averaging more than 20 wins per season, Kennedy ranks 18th in SEC history with 245 victories.
The Louisville, Mississippi, native had the fifth-most wins in 12 years at one school in the conference. Kennedy was one of five SEC coaches to post at least nine 20-win seasons in his first 11 years in the league, joining the likes of Billy Donovan (Florida), Joe B. Hall (Kentucky), Nolan Richardson (Arkansas) and Tubby Smith (Kentucky). In a win over Mississippi State earlier this season (Jan. 6), he became the 23rd SEC coach to earn 100 victories in conference play.
Kennedy turned around the Ole Miss basketball program. He is the only coach in SEC history to post 11 consecutive seasons after taking over a program coming off four straight losing seasons. In his first season, he guided the Rebels to 21 wins and an SEC West Division title on his way to becoming SEC Coach of the Year. Since then, the Rebels are one of only 14 teams nationwide to have 11 straight winning seasons. Ole Miss ranks third in the conference with nine 20-win seasons during those 11 years.