Ole Miss fired football coach Matt Luke on Sunday, three days after his third season without a winning record ended with an excruciating loss to rival Mississippi State.
Athletic director Keith Carter said in a released statement the decision to change coaches was made after evaluating the trajectory of the program and not seeing see enough "momentum on the field."
"While improvements were evident in certain aspects of the program, we are judged ultimately by our record, and, unfortunately, we did not meet the standard of success that we expect from our program," Carter said.
Luke, a former Rebels offensive lineman and assistant coach, was elevated to interim head coach about two weeks before preseason practice started in 2017 after Ole Miss fired Hugh Freeze.
Luke guided the Rebels, who were already banned from the postseason by the NCAA, to a 6-6 record that helped him land a four-year deal through 2021. With the program facing another bowl ban in 2018 and other NCAA sanctions, Luke and the Rebels went 5-7.
Ole Miss finished this season 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the Southeastern Conference, including a 21-20 loss on Thanksgiving night to Mississippi State. Rebels receiver Elijah Moore scored a potential tying touchdown with seconds left in the Egg Bowl, but he was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he pretended to urinate in the end zone like a dog. The Rebels then missed a PAT that was 15 yards longer than the usual distance because of the penalty.
The 43-year-old Luke is the third SEC coach to be fired this season, joining Chad Morris (Arkansas) and Barry Odom (Missouri), and he became the fourth head coach around the country to lose his job Sunday. Also let go were Steve Addazio (Boston College), Charlie Strong (South Florida) and Frank Wilson (Texas-San Antonio).