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SEC coach abruptly leaves post after presence proved “detrimental” to team Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Despite initial reports stating he would finish the season, Andy Kennedy has left his post with Ole Miss effective immediately.

The school announced this move on its website, with Kennedy releasing a statement for his reasons to leave early:

My announcement on Monday, February 12, declaring my impending resignation was intended to:

  1. Lift “the cloud” forming over our program due to continued speculation regarding my future as head coach.
  2. Stop any divisive distraction that the speculation was causing among our supporters (Rebel Nation) and all Ross to move forward with securing the next head coach for the program.
  3. Relieve any external pressure being felt by our current players.

While I believe the first two of these intended goals were accomplished, the third was not.

It has become readily apparent to me that my continued presence as the head coach is proving detrimental to these players finishing the season in a fashion that is representative of The Standard for this program that has been clearly established and maintained for over a decade; therefore, I believe that it is in everyone’s best interest that I exit my role as head coach effective immediately. We all know that “clean breaks” are always best, and I should have realized this last Monday. My apologies.

As I’ve stated before, I am Very Thankful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Head Coach for Men’s Basketball at The University of Mississippi for 12 years! This Community, this University, the SEC, have all overwhelmed me and my family with incredible grace and support. We will forever be woven into the fabric of this Very Special place – “Hell Yeah, Damn Right!!”

Related: How good is the Ole Miss job in actuality?

Kennedy is the winningest coach in Ole Miss basketball. He led the Rebels to nine 20-win seasons, more than every other coach in program history combined. Pretty impressive when you consider Ole Miss has had a basketball program since 1908.

Tony Madlock, an assistant, will serve as acting head coach for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.

Joseph has been covering college basketball for nearly a decade. He's also the co-host of the Off The Wall podcast. Marty Jannetty is better than HBK.
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