Hours before the NCAA Tournament kicked into high gear, Ole Miss introduced the man who it hopes will lead the program back to the big dance.

Ole Miss announced that Kermit Davis is set to become the Rebels’ next coach:


Davis spent his last 16 seasons coaching at Middle Tennessee, where he led the Blue Raiders to a conference title in 5 of his last seasons. He’ll replace Andy Kennedy, who mutually parted ways from the program after spending the last 12 seasons in Oxford.

“I’m incredibly honored and excited to be the basketball coach at the University of Mississippi,” Davis said in a release. “We are extremely grateful to Chancellor Vitter and Ross for giving me the opportunity to lead such a prestigious program in the best basketball league in America. Coming back to my home state of Mississippi to build a national brand is absolutely a dream come true for us. I am Mississippi Made and cannot wait to join the rest of the Ole Miss family.”

The 58-year-old Leakesville, Miss. native earned NCAA Tournament berths in 2 of the last 3 years, including when his team pulled off a stunning upset of No. 2 seed Michigan State in the first round of the 2016 tournament.

Davis’ squad won the 2017 regular season Conference USA title, but missed out on an NCAA Tournament bid after getting upset by Southern Miss. in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.

Davis was a guard at Mississippi State back in the early 1980s.