Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter took the podium on Monday and addressed why the school decided the time was right to fire head coach Matt Luke.

One main reason? Not enough on-field success over the past three seasons.

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“While you can see progress in certain areas, we aren’t improving enough on the field,” Carter said at the press conference. “We felt we needed to move forward in a new direction and inject new energy into the situation.”

Less than two weeks ago, Carter gave Luke a vote of confidence. Yet, on Sunday, two days after the Rebels’ season finale, Luke was fired. Ole Miss went 4-8 this season, including 2-6 in SEC play, and ended the year with an embarrassing loss at Mississippi State.

Of course, a main talking point following that defeat was Elijah Moore’s “dog pee” celebration that led to a penalty and contributed to a missed extra-point attempt that would have tied the game in the closing seconds.

However, Carter said that penalty was not the sole reason for Luke’s firing.

“I don’t think specifically that that incident did, I think it was a totality of everything,” Carter said. “When you look at the wins and losses on the field, that was one of the main things. And then I think with the way the game ended on Thursday, it was a little bit of an exclamation point on some of the apathy that was out there already. And I think it probably put some people on the other side of that that maybe we couldn’t get back.

“Certainly the game, the way it finished, was a factor, but by no means was it the only factor or the main factor.”

Now, Carter will focus on finding a replacement for Luke as he begins his first coaching search as Ole Miss AD.

“We’ve got to find a head coach that can take over a room,” Carter said. “People want to support, but we just lost some of that luster.”