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Exciting times ahead for Ole Miss athletics

 

As I near the end of my time here at Ole Miss, I cannot help but be excited about the future for Ole Miss athletics. In my time on campus, I have seen some of the greatest moments in Ole Miss athletics history and some of the worst.

When I arrived in Oxford, Ed Orgeron and his “Wild Boys” were still piling up “moral” victories week after week. After a winless SEC season, he was let go, and Houston Nutt was brought in to revive the Ole Miss football program. I don’t think people realized the talent he was stepping into as Ole Miss saw immediate results with back-to-back nine-win seasons and back-to-back Cotton Bowl victories. After those first two seasons however, the magic was gone, and so was Nutt two years later.

The basketball team has been competitive year in and year out since I arrived on campus, coming up just a game or two short every year from making the NCAA tournament. Two NIT Final Fours, two home wins against Kentucky including a buzzer-beater from Chris Warren and a victory over Mississippi State in Oxford this season will highlight my memories of the basketball program.

I was in attendance for both Cotton Bowl wins, a Valentine’s Day buzzer-beater against LSU, two victories over Kentucky in basketball, Dexter McCluster running all over Tennessee, Jordan Jefferson spiking the ball with no time remaining, giving Ole Miss a victory and the football victory in the Swamp, which nobody saw coming. 

On the flip side, I have seen Ole Miss lose to Jacksonville State and Louisiana Tech in football. I have seen two winless conference seasons, and I have seen our baseball team have a 1-0 series lead at home in a Super Regional only to lose game two in a heartbreaker and fall again in game three. As you can tell, I have seen Ole Miss in some high points and low points. There is nothing like being an Ole Miss fan. And now is an exciting time to be an Ole Miss fan.

Ole Miss has a new leader in charge of athletics in Ross Bjork, and let me tell you, he gets it. From his interviews on the radio to talking to the crowd on stage at Double Decker to interacting with fans on Twitter, Bjork is a great fit for Ole Miss and is just what the program needed. Ole Miss is headed in the right direction under Bjork; he will not accept losing and is going to do everything he can do to make sure championships come to Oxford.

Bjork also seems to have a great relationship with new football head coach Hugh Freeze, something the previous football staff and athletic director reportedly did not have. Coach Freeze is getting the type of high school talent interested in Ole Miss that I have not seen in my time here. Coach Freeze has been successful everywhere he has ever been, and there is no reason to believe he can’t be here.

With a new athletic director and a new football coach, along with a new basketball arena and the bowling-in of the football stadium in the near future, exciting times are certainly ahead for Ole Miss fans. My only wish is that I could remain a student and see the building up on a day-to-day basis. 

My request for those of you who will return to Oxford in the fall is quite simple:  Get to the game early, pack the stadium and be loud to make Oxford a place to which opponents dread coming.

Hotty Toddy!

 

David Henson is a senior journalism major from Chattanooga, Tenn. Follow him on Twitter @dahenson.