On the heels of an NCAA Tournament appearance and SEC Tournament Championship, Ole Miss head basketball coach Andy Kennedy's contract has been extended to run through 2017, Athletics Director Ross Bjork announced Friday.
Kennedy's four-year deal is the longest allowed by the state of Mississippi and includes a base salary of $1.8 million, which ranks sixth among SEC head coaches. It also includes incentives for SEC regular season and NCAA postseason success and a 40 percent increase in the investment of assistant coach and basketball support staff salaries.
"We are excited to make this continued investment in men's basketball at the University of Mississippi and extend Coach Kennedy's contract," Bjork said. "The excitement and buzz created during our SEC Championship and NCAA Tournament run provides us with the momentum to continue to grow basketball here at Ole Miss. I also want to thank Rebel Nation for your support in reaching seven-straight sellouts this season. Great fan support, coupled with our state-of-the-art practice facility and the development of a new arena, means the future is bright for our program."
"I can't tell you how excited I am to have the opportunity to continue leading the men's basketball program at Ole Miss," Kennedy said. "The commitment shown by Ross and (Ole Miss Chancellor) Dr. Jones exemplifies their vision for our program moving forward. I am very proud of the foundation that we have laid and I look forward to building on this SEC Championship season."
The all-time winningest coach in Ole Miss history, Kennedy guided the Rebels to the SEC Tournament Championship and the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002 this season. Ole Miss tied the school record with 27 wins and led the SEC in scoring for the first time in school history as Kennedy earned SEC Coach of the Year honors.
Kennedy has led the Rebels to a 152-87 record in his seven seasons as head coach and is the only coach in Ole Miss history to post six 20-plus win seasons and lead his squad to six postseason berths. He has posted the fourth-most wins in SEC history by a coach in his first seven years in the league at one school, trailing just Rick Pitino (184), Wimp Sanderson (155) and Joe B. Hall (154). Kennedy is also just the fifth coach in SEC history with 20-plus wins in six of his first seven seasons in the conference at one school.
"As Ole Miss' all-time winningest coach, Andy is a great fit for our program and is the right person to lead us for many years to come," said Bjork. "As a Mississippian, no other head coach has poured more work into our program, and he truly understands the ingredients it takes for us to have consistent success in the SEC and on the national stage. During our interaction the past year and especially the last six weeks, I see a new sense of energy from Coach Kennedy and his staff, and we are excited to see our program continue to grow on and off the court."
A two-time SEC Coach of the Year selection, Kennedy has more postseason wins (8) than any coach in school history and has coached Ole Miss' all-time leading rebounder (Murphy Holloway), 3-point shooter (Chris Warren) and blocked shots leader (Reginald Buckner). The Louisville, Miss., native has also led the Rebels to two SEC West titles and a pair of NIT Final Four appearances.
Under the tutelage of the former Parade All-American and UAB standout, Ole Miss has produced 12 All-SEC selections, an SEC Player of the Year and an SEC Freshman of the Year. The Rebels have been nationally ranked in three different seasons for a total of 18 weeks and put together the longest winning streak in school history. The crowds at Tad Smith Coliseum have been among the best in program history as the Rebels set a school record with seven-consecutive sellouts this season.