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Bjork Voices His Support For Matt Luke, Gives Update On NCAA Case

Ross Bjork after Matt Luke’s introductory press conference. Photo by Steven Gagliano

Matt Luke was officially introduced as the 38th head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels yesterday during a press conference inside the Manning Center. After last Thursday’s public spectacle of Hugh Freeze’s resignation, Athletic Director Ross Bjork looked on as Luke put on a display of passion and energy when discussing his new position.
“I was really impressed with Matt Luke, I know he prepared for this opportunity to publicly address his role as the head coach for the first time. I was extremely impressed with his passion. I knew he’d be passionate, but I was impressed with his preparedness and his honesty about what this role means. This is a fresh start, let’s go. Practice starts next week, and September 2 is right around the corner.”
Speculation is swirling around Rebel nation and the rest of the country about who the next coach of the Rebels may be, but Bjork is confident in Luke. Bjork mentioned that while his phone may be filled with calls from search firms and agents, he is focused on the upcoming season and moving forward with Luke at the helm. Bjork mentioned that with a chance to prove himself as the head coach of the Rebels, Luke will be in the running for the permanent job when the time comes.
“My message has been that I’m not talking to anybody, my focus is on Matt Luke and as the season progresses we’ll do what’s best for the team,” Bjork said. “Matt Luke is going to be a great candidate for our job. We’re going to watch him up close and personal, he and I will interact on a daily basis. We’re going to have a chance to see him run this team, interact with the team and run recruiting. He’ll have a great dance floor for this opportunity.”
While the search for a permanent coach hasn’t begun, Bjork knows one trait that he will be looking for when finding Freeze’s permanent replacement.
“The first thing is character,” Bjork said. “Are they a leader of men? Can they inspire? Can they coach at the highest level? Obviously, we’re in the SEC West, so that means you better bring it every day.”
Bjork was bound by a confidentially clause on whether the meeting with the Committee on Infractions had been scheduled, but he did confirm that the University has received the NCAA’s case summary after submitting their response to the NOA. Bjork said that the case summary will be released within the next week, after personal information has been redacted. While Freeze’s departure adds a new wrinkle to the situation, Bjork stands by how they have handled the investigation and the facts surrounding it. 
“I believe the facts speak for themselves. We believe that we have well documented how we collectively ran the program along with Hugh Freeze and you can’t take that away from us; those are documented facts. Everything we’ve done, even last week, is based on facts.”
Fall camp begins on August 2, and the Rebels will take the field against South Alabama just a month later on September 2. 
Watch Bjork’s Full Remarks Below:

Steven Gagliano is the managing editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com

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