Gazebo Gazette

According to several national sports sources, Gulfport native Matt Luke was fired by the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) as the Head Football Coach after finishing with a third non-winning season (4-8) and an excruciating rivalry game loss to Mississippi State.

Athletic director Keith Carter said Sunday the decision to change coaches was made after evaluating the trajectory of the program and not seeing see enough “momentum on the field.”

Luke, a former Ole Miss offensive lineman, was elevated to head coach two weeks before summer practice began in 2017 when Mississippi Head Coach Hugh Freeze resigned.

Luke helped the sanctioned Rebels 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, the Gulfport native and Ole Miss went 5-7.

The Rebels finished this season 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the Southeastern Conference.  A 21-20 loss to in-state rival Mississippi State left the Rebels with numerous questions about the program and the disappointment of the coaches.

Previously, Luke was an assistant serving as the co-offensive coordinator at Ole Miss from 2012 to 2016, and served as the interim head coach during the 2017 season.  

After graduating from Ole Miss in 2000, Luke took a job with Murray State as an offensive line coach. Following the 2001 season, he returned to Ole Miss to coach offensive line and tight ends under Head Coach David Cutcliffe.   Ole Miss fired Cutcliffe after the 2004 season, but new head coach Ed Orgeron retained Luke on staff.  He left in 2006 to be reunited with Cutcliffe at the Tennessee, where he coached the offensive line for 2 years.

 In early 2008, Duke hired Cutcliffe as its new head coach where he brought Luke with him.  At Duke, Luke was co-offensive coordinator with responsibility for the running game, while also coaching the offensive line.  Luke departed Duke at the end of the 2011 season to rejoin the Ole Miss coaching staff with Freeze as a similar position with Cutcliffe.

Ole Miss will begin the national search for a new head coach.