After a long list of coaching stops that includes Ole Miss, Duke, University of Colorado and the Dallas Cowboys, Mike MacIntyre is returning to Oxford as the Rebels’ defensive coordinator for the 2019 season.
After being removed as the head football coach at the University of Colorado following the team’s unsuccessful 2018 season, MacIntyre inherits a defense that has struggled mightily in recent seasons. The Rebel defense gave up 36.2 points per game last season, good for 113th out of 130 FBS schools.
MacIntyre is familiar with Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke as the two were on staff together at both Ole Miss and Duke in the 2000s. After MacIntyre’s hiring, Luke praised his new coordinator’s ability to revive defensive programs at his previous stops.
“I could not be more excited to add Mike’s leadership, values and high-level experience to our program,” Luke said. “Throughout our years together at Duke and Ole Miss, I have seen firsthand his ability to turn around a defense, and I look forward to seeing his veteran influence on that side of the ball.”
MacIntyre’s ability to revive programs earned him NCAA’s Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award in 2016 after leading the Colorado Buffaloes to their first 10-win season since 2001. Although he recently lost his job as the Buffaloes’ head coach, MacIntyre is excited about the prospect of working with Matt Luke in the SEC West in an attempt to remedy Ole Miss’ defensive woes.
“I am honored and excited to have this opportunity,” MacIntyre said. “From our time working together, I have a lot of respect for Matt as a coach and as a man. The future is bright under his leadership, and I look forward to working with the players to help take this program to the next level.”
MacIntyre served as an assistant coach at Ole Miss under David Cutcliffe from 1999 to 2002 and looks forward to living in Oxford and coaching for the Rebels once again.
“I’m excited about where we’re going and where we’re headed, and (I’m) very fortunate to be here and honored to be coaching at Ole Miss,” MacIntyre said. “I loved my time here before, absolutely loved it, and I know I’ll love it again.”
Although MacIntyre’s last two coaching stops have been of the head-coaching variety, he said he is looking forward to working with head coach Matt Luke in Oxford.
“There were a lot of things that went into it, but number one, of course, (was) Matt — us knowing each other so well and wanting him to do well,” MacIntyre said. “He’s the type of coach, the type of person, that has passion for Ole Miss, (and) I want him to be successful. The second part of it was we absolutely loved our time here at Ole Miss. My wife loved it here; my kids loved it here.”
Although Ole Miss has struggled defensively since the tail end of the Hugh Freeze era, MacIntyre believes talent exists on that side of the ball that makes a turnaround in the 2019 season possible.
“I watched quite a bit of film on Ole Miss, and I think they have some good football players,” MacIntyre said. “I’m excited to get out there and work with them and see their maturity and see them work and see them do it. So hopefully we will be able to do it better, be able to stop people and win football games.”
MacIntyre has spring and fall camp to work with and tweak his new defensive unit, and he states that there is a need for week-by-week improvement. The Rebels’ first test of 2019 will be when they travel up the road to Memphis to take on the Tigers on August 31.
“Hopefully we’ll make strides each week, and hopefully we’ll play well coming out of the gate,” MacIntyre said. “I think Memphis is the tenth scoring offense in America, so we better know what we’re doing and be ready out of the gate to play better and to play well.”