With newly hired Chancellor Glenn Boyce preparing to settle into his new office in the Lyceum, focus in the Athletics Administration Building shifts to another hiring process.
One of Boyce’s major assignments in his new role after his controversial hiring last week is to choose his new athletic director. While the specific logistics of the search and hiring process is currently unclear, it’s certain this hire will be crucial, not only considering athletics serves as a window to the university from the outside. A well-received hire from Boyce in this situation could garner some much-needed capital after an already rocky start to the job.
A release from the university indicates Boyce will begin serving as chancellor on or before Oct. 13, so Ole Miss could have a new A.D. very soon.
The position has been vacant since late May when Ross Bjork suddenly stepped down from his post after seven years to take the same job at Texas A&M. The unexpected resignation left Ole Miss with no one running the athletic department and no chancellor to bring in a new hire. It was confirmed shortly after that the university would wait until a chancellor was named to hire a new athletic director.
Since then, Deputy Athletic Director for Development Keith Carter has filled in as the interim A.D. and expressed his interest in the permanent job immediately.
“Am I interested in being the long-term permanent A.D.? Absolutely. That’s the short answer,” Keith Carter said shortly after assuming the interim position this summer. “But at the same time, I was raised that you just go in, you do good work, put your head down, and if you have success, those things will follow.”
The former basketball All-American has moved in the fashion of a permanent A.D. in the last four months, moving forward with projects already set in place by Bjork. Carter’s first major decision came when he elected not to roll over head baseball coach Mike Bianco’s contract to the four-year maximum after the end of the 2019 season.
Carter’s tenure has also seen a delayed decision on in-stadium alcohol sales, which were later approved for the final three home games of the season, the announcement of new student party decks that were only altered to tents due to safety concerns and, of course, the ongoing fight against declining ticket sales and attendance.
Names like Mike Bianco and John Hartwell have been thrown out outside the program alongside Keith Carter and Micheal Thompson as potential candidates, but the short list is totally dependent on the new chancellor.
Now that the university has a new leader, forming the search and hiring process for another extremely important position should be one of the first things on the docket.