OXFORD, Miss. (WLOX) - After three seasons in Oxford, Gulfport native Matt Luke will not continue as head football coach next year at the University of Mississippi.
The news that Luke has been fired broke Sunday night following multiple reports and a release posted on the Ole Miss website.
Changes began to swirl late Saturday with new chancellor Glenn Boyce unhappy with the handling of football player Elijah Moore, according to a report from the Daily Journal, after Moore’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty played a big part in the Rebels’ 21-20 loss at rival Mississippi State.
“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,” said Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter.
“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.”
Ole Miss now heads back to the drawing board to search for a new coach.
“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," said Carter. "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.”
After one season as the interim coach, Luke was introduced as the program’s 38th head coach on Nov. 27, 2017. He compiled a 15-21 record in three seasons, including a 4-8 record in 2019 that concluded with a 21-20 loss at Mississippi State on Thursday.
“I want to thank Coach Luke for his devotion to Ole Miss,” Carter continued. “His integrity, class and dedication to this program and our student-athletes is unsurpassed, and we will always appreciate how he stepped up at a time when his university needed him the most. We wish him the very best, and he will always be a cherished member of the Ole Miss family.”
Carter is scheduled to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Monday.