Coach Andy Kennedy has been the greatest Ole Miss basketball coach in school history. However, there are concerns among Rebels fans this could be his last season.
Coach Andy Kennedy was just coming off a 64-58 win over in-state rival and SEC foe Miss State. The win gave Kennedy his 100th SEC win and it was his 8th win in the last 9 meetings against the Bulldogs. Things couldn’t be better and then the 85-70 blowout loss to No.22 Auburn happened. Of course, we all know Andy Kennedy has been a great coach and is a favorite among most fans. However, there are a few Ole Miss fans who wonder if this could be Andy Kennedy’s last season as the Ole Miss head coach.
First, I really like coach Kennedy and hope he finds a way to secure a contract extension after this season. Second, Chancellor Jeff Vitter and AD Ross Bjork should have already extended Kennedy’s contract. If they had we’d probably not be having this conversation right now. Of course, with the season the Rebels have had there would be Ole Miss basketball fans questioning why they had extended it. Some of us have good reason for wondering if Andy Kennedy is on a hot seat in Oxford.
No this hasn’t been quite the season we’ve expected but this team is 2-2 in the SEC. This AK team is talented and will get better as the season goes forward. Of course, the SEC will be a tough grind for the Rebels but they could easily find themselves in position to get to 20 wins. We all know 20 win seasons are something Andy Kennedy is quite familiar with. Which continues us to question, is AK on a hot seat and if so why?
Just How Good Is AK?
Ole Miss Rebels Basketball
When we say Andy Kennedy is the greatest coach in Ole Miss history we don’t use it loosely. On the contrary, we use it because AK has more wins than any other coach in basketball at Ole Miss.
According to OleMissSports.com, Andy Kennedy is in his 13th season as a head coach and has a record of 264-160 with a .624 overall winning percentage. In his 12th season as head coach for the Rebels he has amassed a record of 243-147 with an over all winning percentage of .625.
In Kennedy’s previous twelve seasons as a head coach he has had ten 20-win seasons. One of those was a 19 win season. Kennedy has never coached a team which finished below .500.
Kennedy has accumulated eleven post season wins while securing 8 post season births. While he has been at Ole Miss he has won a SEC tourney and he has been SEC Coach of the Year twice.
Why He Wasn’t Extended
It’s hard to really say with one-hundred percent certainty why Andy Kennedy’s contract wasn’t extended. There have been questions from both support and opposition of Andy Kennedy when it comes to his tenure. Ole Miss basketball has never been in the position where we are in terms of facilities and revenue. While much of this is the work of AD Ross Bjork we have to realize Andy Kennedy’s success has had a lot to do with it. Fans and donors dole out big money for a winning program and such has been the case for Ole Miss basketball.
However, there are obvious issues between Andy Kennedy and the Ole Miss administration. Of course, sometimes there are power struggles and conflict of personalities which create tension between coaches and administration. Andy Kennedy is very flamboyant and outspoken and loves to control the podium. He doesn’t shy away from the press or the microphone and has made more than a few jabs at TSBU. Perhaps this is part of the problem, who really knows?
Maybe this was just a little squeeze by the chancellor and athletic director in an attempt to reel in Kennedy a little. Perhaps it was a way to put a little more pressure on Kennedy to take the program to the next level. I sure hope not because it has backfired if it was. One, you’ll never reel in a coach like Kennedy. Two, coaches seem to perform much better when they aren’t under unfair pressure. A contract extension was due in my opinion while some Rebels fans think the pressure is justly warranted.
While there may be a fraction of Ole Miss fans who don’t like Kennedy most of do. Kennedy has been good for Ole Miss basketball and brought us out of the SEC cellar. He has taken Ole Miss teams with less talent to heights never expected and it could get even better if he is given more time.
Sure, 9-7 overall is not where any of us expected Ole Miss to be at this point. However, the Rebels are 2-2 in the SEC right now. I really believe this team is ready to explode this season. However, after watching them in conference play can the Rebels get to 20+ wins. They might still get there so what will be Andy Kennedy’s plight should that happen?
In the past couple of seasons he has recruited some of the best talent in basketball. Now this could easily be the most talented and deep team Andy Kennedy has had at Ole Miss. It only makes sense he should continue to be given the chance to use the new facilities as a recruiting tool. Why do some fans and/or admin believe we could find a better head coach for this basketball program than Andy Kennedy?
It’s hard to gauge the situation with Andy Kennedy and the Ole Miss powers that be at this point. However, with this season already in the SEC grind Kennedy is the man at the helm. So far he sits at 2-2 in the SEC. Of course, how well he does throughout the rest of this season will certainly play a huge part in keeping his seat cool. Hotty Toddy!