– On May 29, Braden Thornberry won the university its first golf national championship in Sugar Grove, Illinois. The championship win capped off a season that included four tournament victories, nine top-10 finishes and the nation’s best scoring average for Thornberry. Thornberry also went on to compete in several PGA Tour tournaments.
– Former Ward 2 Alderman Robyn Tannehill was inaugurated as Oxford’s new mayor succeeding Pat Patterson.
– The university released a response to the NCAA Notice of Allegations and prepared to appeal seven of the 21 allegations. The allegations included lack of institutional control, head coach responsibility, impermissible contact and impermissible recruiting inducement. In its response, the university agreed that several violations occurred but felt there was not credible and persuasive evidence to support all of the allegations.
– The state of Mississippi celebrated its 200th year of statehood, and brought part of the celebration to Oxford. The bicentennial celebration included the Governor’s Concert on June 24 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center. Acts like Shannon McNally, Steve Azar, Vasti Jackson, Mac McAnally, Marty Stuart and the Mississippi Bicentennial Symphony Orchestra, all of whom have ties to the state, performed at the Ford Center.
– Two weeks after Houston Nutt filed a lawsuit against the university, head football coach Hugh Freeze announced his resignation July 20. As part of the lawsuit, Freeze and the university released phone records from six days in January 2016. A phone call to an alleged escort service was found in the phone records. In a press conference, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said the university found “a pattern of personal misconduct inconsistent with the standards expected from the leader of our football team.” Vitter also stressed that the personnel change was a separate incident from the ongoing NCAA investigation.
After the departure of Hugh Freeze, former offensive line coach Matt Luke was named the interim head coach on July 20. Luke played center for the Rebels from 1995 to 1998 and is entering his 10th season as a member of the Ole Miss coaching staff.
“I can truly tell you all today that this is my dream job,” Luke said in his first press conference as head coach. “It’s a job I’ve been preparing my whole life for. I feel more strongly than ever that I’m the right man to run this program.”
– Widespread construction on campus continued throughout the summer, and several projects wrapped up just in time for the fall semester. The Chucky Mullins Roundabout opened Aug. 11 with the hopes of decongesting the area and easing traffic. The parking garage behind Kincannon Hall will serve as additional residential parking. The Student Union was originally scheduled to open in time for the first day of classes, but an unexpected delay postponed its opening.