Andy Kennedy had been on the Ole Miss campus as the men’s basketball head coach since 2006. Now another coach has taken over as the leader of the team. Kermit Davis has been hired as 21th head coach of the program.
Davis, who has spent 16 years as the head coach of Middle Tennessee State, comes to a program in need of some immediate success. The Rebel’s basketball program had become stagnant. Kennedy gave a tremendous effort, but the results weren’t what the athletic department had hoped.
Regular season success has been a strong suit for Davis. In the last seven seasons, the Blue Raiders finish first in the regular season five times. Two out of the last three seasons have ended on the second day of the NCAA Tournament.
It is easy to focus on the negatives. You could wonder why in his 25+ years of coaching he has only went to the tournament five times. Or how he isn’t as young as many would have hoped. Or questioning why was he still at MTSU in the first place.
The fact is that it all doesn’t matter now. He is here. He is the coach. Kermit Davis is the head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels. What I’ve seen, he has produced winners with less talent than many of the coaches that were available. He never had a losing conference record while with the Blue Raiders. His kids seem to want to play for him.
Davis appears to want to be here. This doesn’t look like “just a place to land” as it felt with Thad Matta. With as much pride as we have in Ole Miss, we deserve someone who WANTS to be here.
Make no mistake, he was not my first choice. However, I’m an Ole Miss Rebel. Now he is one, too. That alone makes me give him the benefit of the doubt and cheer him on to success. If he brings wins and tournament trips to Oxford, we will forget all the other names we thought we wanted in his place.