• 55°

Ole Miss takes interim tag off athletic director Carter

OXFORD (AP) — After a national search spanning just over three weeks, Ole Miss has found its new athletic director.

He was right there all along.

Ole Miss removed the interim tag from Keith Carter’s title by officially naming him the school’s athletic director on Friday.

Carter had been working as the interim athletic director since Ross Bjork’s departure in May. Bjork had been Ole Miss’ athletic director for seven years before leaving for the same position at Texas A&M.

“In my time as a student athlete and an administrator, I have experienced championship heights at Ole Miss, and I will work to provide the leadership and resources necessary for our teams to compete at that level year in and year out,” Carter said in a university release.

Chancellor Glenn Boyce formally introduced Carter at a Friday afternoon news conference.

“This search was committed to finding the right leader who possesses the integrity and character needed to lead Ole Miss athletics, a strong and proven record of success and excellent management and interpersonal skills,” Boyce said in a release. “We were looking for someone who wants to be at Ole Miss, and who believes all of our programs can compete and win at every level. Keith Carter is absolutely the best person to lead Ole Miss Athletics to a new era of success.”

Carter is a former four-year starter for Ole Miss’ basketball team who helped the Rebels win Southeastern Conference Western Division titles in 1997 and 1998. He was a first-team Associated Press all-SEC selection and honorable mention on the AP All-America team as a senior in 1999.

He received a unanimous recommendation from a search committee that was chaired by Ole Miss alum and retired FedEx executive Mike Glenn. Former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback Archie Manning served in an advisory role to the committee and Boyce during the search process.

Carter joined Ole Miss’ athletic department in September 2009. His jobs have included overseeing the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, serving as chief revenue officer and working as deputy athletic director for development and resource acquisition.

Ole Miss officials say the athletics foundation had its four highest years of donations under Carter’s guidance.

In 2016, Carter was named the Fundraiser of the Year by the National Association of Athletic Development Directors. Of the major gifts under Carter’s tenure was a $25 million donation from Jerry “Doc” Hollingsworth, which included $10 million in cash and is still the largest single gift in Ole Miss athletics history.

Since 2012, the Ole Miss athletics department saw revenue more than double, from around $57 million to $117 million.

The committee went with Carter over two other candidates on a reported short list — current Utah State athletic director John Hartwell and current Florida executive associate athletic director Jay Jacobs.