Bjork on Hiring Luke: Going with a “Big Name” Would Have Been the Easy Choice

Matt Luke: “I wanted to be hired here because I was the right man for the job."

Photo by Adam Brown

The search for a new Ole Miss head football coach came to an end last night as Athletic Director Ross Bjork officially named Matt Luke to the position.

Bjork introduced Luke at a press conference today, and both men spoke about the future of the football program.

Luke took over the position as interim coach earlier this year when his predecessor, Hugh Freeze, stepped down two weeks prior to fall camp. Luke manned the ship to a 6-6 record on the season and proved a steadying force during a troubled year for the Ole Miss family.

Bjork said he knew the months of November and December would be a defining window of time for the football program. “In a loss to Arkansas,” Bjork said, “I saw the Rebels play their best football when it would be an easy time for the team to lay down if they did not have a leader [like Luke] to push them.”

“I realize the easy decision was to hire someone new,” Bjork added. “Bring in a splash hire, a big name, if you will. In reality, the hard decision was to drill down and assess our program, what it needs, be strategic and hire the right coach. In the final analysis, Matt Luke is the best person, the best leader, and the best coach.”

Luke was taken over by emotions as he discussed how Ole Miss is his dream job.

“I wanted to be hired here because I was the right man for the job,” Luke said. “I have played and coached at this level for 20 years. I have been under some of the best head coaches in this country, and I fully understand what a championship program looks like.”

Prior to Bjork’s introduction of Luke, Chancellor Jeff Vitter praised Bjork’s efforts to find a replacement.

“Since August, Ross has scoured the country searching for the best football coach, and he has found him in Matt Luke,” Vitter said.

Adam Brown is the sports editor of He can be reached at

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