Ole Miss Basketball: Rebels Hoops And What Soon Lies Ahead

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 08: Chris Denson
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 08: Chris Denson /

With Andy Kennedy stepping down at the end of the Ole Miss basketball season there are definitely some uncertainties which lie ahead.

Ole Miss basketball has now indeed found themselves at the crossroads. It’s not surprising to many Ole Miss fans. Of course, many fans had seen this coming. Even OHT’s own JIm Shute wrote about 2018-2019 being a year for decisions for Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork. Thanks to Andy Kennedy Bjork will have a much easier task now. However, this just initiates Bjork’s coaching search a few weeks earlier.

This isn’t new territory for Bjork or Ole Miss fans. This won’t be the first big hire which Bjork has been faced with making since he’s been in Oxford. Less than a year ago Ole Miss was in the same situation with the football program. Luckily Bjork had the option to name an interim in Matt Luke who later became the permanent head coach. Also, Bjork was the AD responsible for the hiring of Mike Smith who has been outstanding for the Ole Miss softball team as head coach.


What Bjork Is Up Against

Ole Miss Rebels Basketball
Ole Miss Rebels Basketball /

Ole Miss Rebels Basketball

In the past many Ole Miss fans, including myself, have been very tough on AD Ross Bjork. However, now after all he has had to deal with at Ole Miss and all he has accomplished I believe he is doing a very good job. I’ll admit I was wrong.

Of course, Bjork is up against a world of opposing opinions about the Ole Miss athletics program and what they believe should be done. Fortunately for Ole Miss and the fans we have Bjork to figure out the mess and he’s done great so far.

Until you realize what Bjork is really up against with his position as AD then it’s really hard to truly appreciate the effort his job requires. Bjork has a tough job because of his responsibilities of course, however he is under a lot of pressure from his superiors. The coming weeks of Bjork finding Andy Kennedy’s replacement will be difficult for a number of reasons.

Naturally, it is essential for Bjork to make a good hire for Kennedy’s replacement. We all want to see Ole Miss basketball get better because of this and to do that Bjork will have to make a ‘big name’ hire. If not he will be the man who faces the criticism from Rebels fans. Of course, there are facts which make this a difficult task.

A Matter Of Fact

There are a few facts which he has to deal with in bringing in a ‘big name’ coach to take over Ole Miss basketball. As easy as it would be for Ole Miss administration to throw some big money out to find a replacement, it’s doubtful. Fact number one. The whole issue surrounding Kennedy’s contract not being renewed centered around finances. Andy Kennedy wanted more money for his assistants and Chancellor Jeff Vitter wouldn’t come off any more dollars. However, Vitter was willing to make concessions if Kennedy was willing to give up his own contract buyout clause.

This brings us to fact number two. Ole Miss basketball has the lowest budget in the SEC for its assistants. Sure, Ole Miss has the new 60 million dollar Pavilion, which is the newest basketball arena in the SEC, to pay for. Naturally Chancellor Jeff Vitter is worried about finances. However, The Pavilion was very much-needed at the time as the Tad Pad had become a crumbling eyesore. The Pavilion will continue to be a huge asset for the Ole Miss basketball program going forward but it shouldn’t be the basis for Vitter refusing to increase the salary pool for assistant coaches .

Fact number three. A new head coach at Ole Miss will obviously want his own staff of assistants. This of course is very important to the program’s success or failure going forward. Naturally, we want our new basketball coach to have every opportunity to take Ole Miss basketball to the next level. To do that we have to have a good group of assistants. We can be sure Ross Bjork wants the best for Ole Miss basketball. Now he has to somehow circumvent Vitter and his grip on the finances.

It Won’t Be Easy

Simply based on what we discussed above we know the task set before Ross Bjork will not be easy. Finances should not be a problem nor should politics involving Ole Miss Chancellor Jeff Vitter. Vitter may be Chancellor and Ross Bjork’s boss but I’m very unsure about Vitter and his dedication to the athletics department. Vitter should allow AD Ross Bjork every advantage in this coaching search if he truly does care.

Next: AK's Top 5 Greatest Moments!

Of course, Ole Miss basketball has six games left in the regular season. AD Ross Bjork can get an early jump on the coaching pool available to choose from. For Ole Miss, the fans and Bjork this has to be a huge hire. However, with all which Bjork is up against it won’t be easy. What lies ahead for Ole Miss basketball will be a tough road with Bjork fighting Vitter over money. Hotty Toddy!