OXFORD — Ole Miss supporters and alumni have been vocal about what they're looking for in the school's next athletics director.
They have many opinions about the qualities they want to see in the next hire, ranging from experience and qualifications to goals and priorities.
Here's a collection of opinions from Ole Miss supporters about what they'd like to see out of the next athletics director. Neither Chancellor Glenn Boyce nor members of the search committee have responded to interview requests for this story.
By far, the most popular opinion is that Ole Miss supporters want to see a fresh face at the top of the athletics department.
A large segment of the fan base seems frustrated with the insider-focus that has percolated through Ole Miss' recent hires. Namely, fans don't want to see repeats of the choices to promote Matt Luke from interim football coach to head football coach and the IHL to hire Boyce after he was paid to consult on the chancellor search process.
In some ways, these fans are looking for a hire comparable to the one Ole Miss made when it brought in Ross Bjork in 2012.
As Ole Miss fan DeMatt Harkins pointed out to the Clarion Ledger, Bjork's outsider appeal brought radical change to Ole Miss' athletics department. Bjork frequently spoke to fans, remained visible on social media, put an emphasis on improving the fan experience through facilities upgrades and renovations, and let fans speak their opinions more clearly through surveys for season ticket-holders.
This isn't to say Ole Miss fans want a Bjork clone. But fans are looking for someone who can inject new ideas and new personality into the athletics department instead of an internal hire.
Linda Timbes on Twitter has a high standard for what she expects from the Rebels' next hire.
This attitude isn't Timbes' alone. Having a proven track record of success and the ability to be an "outside the box thinker" are two of the most frequently cited qualifications fans want to see from the next athletics director. Supporters don't want to hire someone who can preserve what Ole Miss is, but rather want to hire an athletics director who can take Ole Miss into the next level of competition across all sports.
Ole Miss fan Rodney Schnadelbach took this philosophy one step further. He told the Clarion Ledger he wants Ole Miss to go after a candidate skilled and innovative enough that he or she wouldn't consider Ole Miss to be a final destination.
"The person I would like will be not too old, has been prepared for this and someone that is so good, that he will be gone to a larger school in five years and we start over again," he said.
These fans were quick to bring up names like Danny White and John Hartwell. White, who has been the AD at UCF since 2015, worked as an associate AD at Ole Miss from 2009-12, while Hartwell is the AD at Utah State but prior to that spent nine years in Oxford as the senior executive associate AD.
Most of the prominent candidates who have been connected to Ole Miss throughout the search process have hit a similar profile: white men between the ages of 35-60 with experience as athletics directors or sports administrators.
Some fans said they'd welcome a wider search, whether that means searching for candidates more diverse in race, gender, age or experience.
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Ole Miss supporters repeatedly brought up a few others factors, including an emphasis on finding new fundraising avenues and upgrading facilities.
Still, a few other fans brought up these outside-the-box qualifications they'd like to see from the next athletics director:
If you have any further opinions on what you'd like to see from Ole Miss' next athletics director, feel free to contact Ole Miss beat writer Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.