Ole Miss moving on from Matt Luke

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When Keith Carter took on the permanent role as Ole Miss Athletic Director less than two weeks ago, he said, “I’m so excited about Coach Luke. He’s our coach. We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity we have next week in Starkville.”

But then came the Egg Bowl, a celebration gone terribly wrong, and a man that changed his mind faster than you can say ‘Hotty Toddy.’

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Yesterday, Ole Miss announced its decision to move on from Head Coach Matt Luke just three days after the program’s 21-20 loss to Mississippi State in the 92nd annual Egg Bowl.

The optics couldn’t have been worse after losing the game on a missed extra point following an unsportsmanlike penalty for an ill-advised touchdown celebration by Elijah Moore.

The loss caps off a 4-8 season for the Gulfport native, Coach Luke’s third straight non-winning season as the head man in Oxford.

According to an article by the Clarion Ledger, several players are unhappy with the school’s decision to let go of the man that led the program out of darkness in the months that followed the Hugh Freeze saga.

But at the end of the day, Carter is standing by his decision to not stand by what he said last month. “A couple days since the Egg Bowl, we tried to evaluate – we tried to get away from that. It was obviously a very emotional night for a lot of reasons. But I think we tried to get away from that. We tried to look at the totality of the program, and what I just kept coming back to is that while we could see some progress on the field, have been competitive in most games this year, it just felt like the apathy around the program and just the lack of support were going to be hard to overcome.”

Coach Luke was the program’s 38th head coach and led the Rebels to a combined record of 15-21 during his three seasons at the helm.

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A native of Pass Christian and a St. Stanislaus alum, Jeff Haeger comes to News 25 from right in our backyard. He most recently spent more than three years working as the sports reporter for WHLT-TV in Hattiesburg, where he provided extensive coverage of his alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Jeff was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. He also wrote for USM's award-winning school newspaper, The Student Printz, where he won first place for Best Sports Story in 2013. Jeff loves to travel, and is excited to get back on the water to reunite with his family. In his spare time you can find Jeff spending time with his friends, and maybe even winning a fantasy football league. For sports stories contact Jeff at jhaeger@wxxv25.com.

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