Ole Miss has fired Matt Luke, according to a report from Neal McCready of Rebel Grove. We can confirm the news. The school has also announced the decision.
From the school’s release, via newly promoted athletic director Keith Carter:
“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,” Carter said. “While improvements were evident in certain aspects of the program, we are judged ultimately by our record, and, unfortunately, we did not meet the standard of success that we expect from our program. We will always be grateful to Coach Luke for his leadership, particularly from a recruiting, academic and overall culture standpoint. At the same time, winning is important, and we know that we can compete for championships at Ole Miss.
“A search is underway to find a new head coach who can build a complete program that attracts top talent, develops them as young men and sustains a winning mentality. We will be looking for the leadership, energy and commitment to excellence necessary to compete in the Southeastern Conference and galvanize our passionate fan base.”
The move is interesting, in that Ole Miss concluded its season on Thursday but waited until Sunday night to let Luke go, and that the Rebels’ administration indicated to AD candidates it would prefer Luke be retained for 2020. The school hired interim AD Keith Carter, which apparently gave the school the comfort to move on from Luke. Sources told FootballScoop as late as this morning that all was good for the staff.
See tweet at bottom for how Matt Luke found out.
A former Rebels center and assistant coach, Luke was promoted as a long-term interim firing Hugh Freeze’s firing in the late summer of 2017.
He went 6-6 in 2017, which was enough for then-AD Ross Bjork to take the interim tag off of Luke. Ole Miss then went 5-7 in 2017 and 4-8 this fall, concluding with a 21-20 Egg Bowl loss where Rebels receiver Elijah Moore drew a 15-yard penalty by pretending to urinate like a dog, leading to a game-ending missed extra point.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Matt Luke was in the home of three-star #OleMiss commitment De'Rickey Wright when news broke. Wright, obviously, took it hard, but Luke advised him to stay patient and pray about his pledge. Say what you want about everything else, but Luke's always been a stand-up guy.
— Ben Garrett (@SpiritBen) December 2, 2019