OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi athletic director Keith Carter wants to find a football coach who can bring new energy to the program and excite a fan base that has grown apathetic.
Carter is seeking a replacement for Matt Luke, who was fired Sunday after going 15-21 in three seasons. Luke posted a 6-18 record in Southeastern Conference competition.
“We’ve got to find a head coach who can walk into a room, and absolutely take over that room and galvanize people, bring them back,” Carter said. Ï think people want to support, they want to come back, they want to come to Ole Miss football games, but we just lost some of that luster.
“I think bringing someone in who has energy, who can walk in and kind of own a room and be charismatic and make sure they’re talking about the future and vision of Ole Miss football, I think we can get people back quickly.”
Carter cited a lack of fan support and declining ticket sales as a reason for the change.
Luke began his tenure as Ole Miss’ interim head coach after Hugh Freeze resigned in the summer of 2017. After Ole Miss went 6-6 in 2017, Luke got to keep the job.
When Luke was hired by former athletic director Ross Bjork, it was considered a potentially hard sell because Luke had no previous head coaching experience aside from that season-long interim stint.
"What I just kept coming back to is while we could see some progress in certain areas and we've been competitive on the field in most games this year,” Carter said. “It just felt like the apathy around the program and the lack of support were going to be hard to overcome."
Washington’s Petersen steps down, Lake promoted
SEATTLE— Washington coach Chris Petersen says he is stepping down six seasons at the school, with defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake promoted to over the program.
Petersen’s decision was shocking coming off a season where the Huskies went 7-5 in the regular season and are bound for a sixth straight bowl game under his leadership.
The school said Petersen, 55, will transition into a “leadership advisory role” within the athletic department. Petersen was 146-38 combined during his time as the head coach at Boise State and Washington. In a statement, Petersen says he’ll be a “Husky for life, but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge.”
Lake, 42, has turned down several other coaching opportunities in recent years and has seemed to be the successor to Petersen whenever he did decide to step away from coaching.
ODU’s Wilder resigns
NORFOLK, Va — Bobby Wilder has resigned as Old Dominion’s football coach after 13 seasons.
Athletic director Wood Selig made the announcement Monday.
Wilder was hired 13 when Old Dominion decided to restart its football program. He signed his first class in 2008 and the Monarchs played their first games in 2009. Wilder compiled a 77-56 overall record with the Monarchs, including a 10-3 mark in 2016 when ODU won the Bahamas Bowl.
Success has been fleeting the last three seasons as the Monarchs compiled a 10-26 record, including a program-worst 1-11 record this season. The decline comes at the time when ODU invested $67.5 million to build a new S.B. Ballard Stadium.
Gunnell named interim
after BC’s Addazio fired
BOSTON — Boston College is turning to Rich Gunnell as interim coach, hoping he can help the program return to the days when it was nationally ranked and competing for an Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
Gunnell was a receiver on the BC teams that Matt Ryan led to ACC title games in 2007 and ’08. Gunnell caught a touchdown pass from Ryan in the final two minutes at Clemson to clinch a spot in the 2008 ACC championship game.
BC lost to Clemson 59-7 this year and never beat the Tigers in seven years under coach Steve Addazio, who was fired Sunday.
Muschamp demotes OC,
fires QB, strength coaches
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Will Muschamp has demoted offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon and fired quarterbacks coach Dan Werner and strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman, a person with knowledge of the decision said.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the school had not yet made an official announcement.
McClendon was in his second season as Muschamp’s offensive play-caller and fourth overall with the Gamecocks. Werner joined the staff two seasons ago. Dillman was also in his fourth year at South Carolina.
The moves come after a disappointing 4-8 season where the Gamecocks did not qualify for a bowl game for the first time in Muschamp’s four years. The offense struggled much of the season and was dreadful down the stretch with a total of 24 points and one touchdown in South Carolina’s last three games.
South Florida dismisses
Strong after 3 seasons
South Florida fired coach Charlie Strong on Sunday after three seasons in which the Bulls won fewer games each year.
USF made the move two days after finishing a 4-8 season with a blowout loss to rival UCF. That left Strong 21-16 overall but 4-14 since starting the 2018 season with seven straight victories.
“I have tremendous respect for Coach Strong and his dedication to recruiting and developing young men of talent and character and leading them with integrity. He has represented USF with dignity and class and we wish Coach and his family the very best,” USF athletic director Michael Kelly said in a statement.
The former Texas and Louisville coach was hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart after the 2016 season. Strong led the Bulls to a 10-2 record in that first year in Tampa behind star quarterback Quinton Flowers. After starting 7-0 in 2018, the Bulls ended the season with six straight losses, and this season has been filled with lopsided losses.