OXFORD • Keith Carter, the interim athletics director for Ole Miss, has been named to the permanent position.
As the school conducted interviews, Daily Journal sources said last week that Carter had emerged as the frontrunner, and the school announced his appointment on Friday morning.
The position became open when former AD Ross Bjork accepted the same job at Texas A&M in late May.
Carter, a former basketball All-American at Ole Miss, had served as Deputy AD for Development and Resource Acquisition since February 2018.
New chancellor Glenn Boyce announced on Oct. 30 a seven-person search committee which was chaired by retired FedEx executive Mike Glenn and included former Ole Miss baseball All-American David Dellucci, former women’s basketball player Peggie Gillom-Granderson, former football player and Jackson attorney Jesse Mitchell, former football player David Morris, former football player Wesley Walls and law professor Ron Rychlak.
Archie Manning served as an advisor to the committee.
“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,” Boyce said in a news release.
The committee reviewed more than 30 applicants, many of them with Power Five conference experience, Glenn said.
Carter has made a couple of big decisions while serving as interim.
In June he elected not to extend the contract of long-time baseball coach Mike Bianco, a move that will leave Bianco with two years on his contract – two short of the maximum allowed by state law – at the conclusion of the 2020 season.
Just this week Carter announced that softball coach Mike Smith has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an external audit of the program. The audit is expected to be complete by the end of the semester, Carter said.
A native of Perryville, Arkansas, Carter played basketball at Ole Miss from 1996-1999.
He began work in the athletics department in 2009 and quickly found a niche in fund-raising.
He was named the nation’s top development officer in 2016 and built relationships that helped him bring in some of the largest financial gifts in school history, the school says.
Carter helped The Foundation, the school’s fund-raising arm, experience its four highest years of donations including a record $45.6 million in cash contributions for the 2015-16 year.
Among the major gifts was a $25 million contribution from Jerry “Doc” Hollingsworth which included $10 million in cash. It is the largest gift in the history of the Ole Miss athletics department by a single individual or organization.
“Keith’s extensive background in fundraising and athletics administration, combined with years of experience at Ole Miss, were important factors in the committee’s decision,” Glenn said.