Andy Kennedy (basketball)
March 13, 1968 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1994–1995||South Alabama (asst.)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|SEC West Division championship (2007, 2010)
SEC Tournament championship (2013)
|SEC Coach of the Year (2007)|
Andrew James Kennedy (born March 13, 1968) is an American college basketball coach and the current head men's basketball coach at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). Born in Louisville, Mississippi, Kennedy was a player in high school at both Winston Academy and Louisville High School. He was a 1986 Parade All-American. Kennedy went on to play for North Carolina State and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). On March 24, 2006, Kennedy was introduced as the Rebels' 20th head men's basketball coach. Kennedy is only the fifth coach in SEC history with 45 or more wins in his first two years joining Tubby Smith, Eddie Sutton, Bruce Pearl, and John Calipari. He is only the seventh coach in SEC history to guide his teams to 20+ wins in four of his first five seasons, as well as the only coach in Ole Miss history to produce 10 consecutive winning seasons.
Kennedy, a 6'7" forward, was a 1986 Parade All-American, as well as the Mississippi Player of the Year at Louisville High School (Mississippi)|Louisville High School. He started his collegiate career at North Carolina State where he was a member of Jim Valvano's 1987 Atlantic Coast Conference championship team. He then transferred to play for legendary coach Gene Bartow at UAB where he was a two-time all-conference performer who became the school's second all-time leading scorer with 1,787 points (18.8 ppg. career average) and still holds over 15 individual records.
After graduation, Kennedy played briefly for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, though he never appeared in an official game for the franchise. He later began a three-year professional career abroad, playing in Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Puerto Rico. Chronic knee problems brought his career to an early end. He had his second ACL tear and subsequently his fifth and final knee operation while playing in Puerto Rico and chose to retire as a player and transition into coaching.
Kennedy's coaching career began as an assistant for the University of South Alabama during the 1994–95 season. Since then he has also served as an assistant coach at UAB under Murry Bartow from 1996 to 2001 and the University of Cincinnati from 2001 to 2005. Prior his appointment at Ole Miss, Kennedy's most notable coaching position came during the 2005–06 season when he was named head coach for the University of Cincinnati after Bob Huggins resigned.
Kennedy was tapped with the challenge of steadying a program that had two national championships in its past and a streak of 14 consecutive NCAA Tournaments. The Bearcats were also less than three months away from their first season of competition in one of the nation's strongest conferences, the Big East. Kennedy's already daunting task became even more difficult with the departure of one incoming recruit, two returning veterans and two promising freshmen, plus the loss of a key three-year starter to a mid-season injury, not to mention playing the fifth-rated schedule in the nation.
Despite all the adversity, Kennedy's Bearcats jumped out to a 13-2 start with road wins over Vanderbilt, Marquette, Dayton and eventual Final Four club LSU. While playing only eight scholarships players, Cincinnati cracked the AP Top-25 ranking, and Kennedy was named Mid-Season National Coach of the Year by CBS Sportsline. The winning continued in conference play. The Bearcats stunned Jim Boeheim's Syracuse Orangemen in the Carrier Dome 82-65, knocked off Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals 74-68 and upset 14th-ranked West Virginia 78-75.
Perhaps more significant than the victories, Kennedy reignited the fire and belief in Cincinnati basketball. The early-season home crowds of half-capacity were once again selling out Fifth Third Arena and chanting and waving signs of "Hire Andy". Cincinnati played itself to the cusp of an NCAA Tournament appearance. Kennedy's club finished the regular season with an 8-8 league mark and squared off with Syracuse in the opening round of the Big East Tournament. The Bearcats erased a 14-point deficit and took a two-point lead with 6.2 seconds left. Orangeman All-America Gerry McNamara took the ensuing inbounds and heaved in a controversial running three-pointer as time expired for the 74-73 SU win. Whether McNamara had traveled or not, Cincinnati's bubble had been burst, and Kennedy's Cats eventually found themselves in the National Invitation Tournament instead. Despite disappointingly being left home from the Dance, they competed with the same passion they had the entire season and reached the NIT quarterfinals.
When the dust finally settled on Cincinnati's 2005–06 campaign, Kennedy had directed the Bearcats to a 21-13 record, defeated 12 foes ranked in the top 100 of the RPI and played a schedule rated fifth-toughest in college hoops. National media praised what Kennedy had achieved under such difficult circumstances. The New York Post labeled him the Big East Coach of the Year, and at least one media outlet – Minnesota-based GopherHole.com – even named him their National Coach of the Year.
Kennedy gained immediate success in his first six seasons in Oxford with five 20-win campaigns and six postseason wins, including a pair of NIT Final Four appearances. In his seventh season as coach of the Rebels, Kennedy led Ole Miss to its second SEC Tournament title, a school record-tying 27 wins and the first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002 en route to SEC Coach of the Year honors.
Kennedy and the Rebels marched through the 2012–13 regular season with a school record-tying 12 league victories, including a school-best 6-0 start en route to a second-place finish in the regular season, before sweeping through the SEC Tournament, capped by a victory over Billy Donovan's top-seeded Gators in the title game.
Ole Miss earned a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament and pulled off the upset in the second round by knocking off No. 5 seed Wisconsin, making Kennedy just the second coach in school history to win an NCAA Tournament game. The Rebels' 15 SEC victories (12 regular season and three SEC Tournament) also marked a school record.
The all-time winningest coach in school history with 212 wins, Kennedy has coached Ole Miss' all-time leader in rebounding (Murphy Holloway), 3-pointers (Chris Warren) and blocked shots (Reginald Buckner). In fact, Kennedy is just the fifth coach in SEC history to guide his teams to 20+ wins in eight of his first 10 seasons.
The Kennedy-led Rebels have also claimed a pair of SEC Western Division titles (2007, 2010) and made the first two NIT Final Four appearances in school history (2008, 2010). Kennedy has the fourth-most wins in SEC history by a coach in his first seven years in the league at one school, trailing only Joe B. Hall (227), Rick Pitino (226), and Wimp Sanderson (216).
Since Kennedy arrived, the Rebels have set season records in almost every offensive statistical category and several defensive ones, as well. During the 2012–13 season, the Rebels led the SEC in scoring for the first time in school history at just under 80 points per game. Tad Smith Coliseum has seen both season and single-game attendance records shattered including a school record seven-straight sellouts.
Kennedy wasted no time putting Ole Miss back on the map when he arrived. In his debut season of 2006–07, he guided an unheralded Rebel squad to 21 wins, a Southeastern Conference Western Division title and a second-round appearance in the National Invitation Tournament en route to 2007 SEC Coach of the Year honors.
After breaking the string of four consecutive losing seasons, Kennedy's team were rising, despite the fact that most media experts again picked the Rebels to dwell in the division cellar in 2007–08. After Ole Miss broke out of the gates with a blazing 13-0 start and a No. 15 national ranking, folks around the country started to take notice. In the end, Kennedy took his second Rebel squad to 24 wins, the second-most in school history, and the program's first-ever trip to the NIT Final Four at New York's Madison Square Garden. The Rebels' 45 victories and back-to-back 20-win campaigns were both program firsts for a head coach in his first two seasons. In fact, Kennedy was just the fourth coach in SEC history with 45 or more wins in his first two years, a list which includes Tubby Smith (63 wins at Kentucky, 45 at Georgia), Eddie Sutton (50 at UK) and Bruce Pearl (46 at Tennessee).
Injuries riddled the Ole Miss lineup in 2008–09, but the Rebels still managed to register a winning 16-15 record and a 7-9 mark in SEC play.Despite the fact that it was the first time in four seasons as a head coach that Kennedy had not led his team to 20 wins or postseason play, Kennedy was named a finalist for the Clair Bee National Coach of the Year award and tabbed byCollegeInsider.comas the SEC Coach of the Year. Some think it was the best coaching job yet by the rising star.The short-handed Rebels upended nationally ranked Kentucky and SEC East champ Tennessee at home and would-be tourney champ Mississippi State on the road, while Terrico White flourished as the league's freshman of the year after Kennedy moved him to the starting point guard role.
In 2009–10, the Rebels were again among the league's elite squads as they claimed their second division title under Kennedy. They matched the 2007–08 team with a 24-11 record. Ranked in the polls for nine weeks, Ole Miss just missed out on an NCAA Tournament berth before storming through the first three rounds of the NIT with wins over Troy, Memphis and Texas Tech en route to an NIT Final Four trip to New York for the second time in three years.
Led by sensational senior scorers Chris Warren and Zach Graham, the 2010–11 Rebels again reached the 20-win plateau and a postseason berth. Warren garnered first-team All-SEC distinction, ranking second in the league with 19.1 points per game and leading the NCAA in free-throw shooting with an Ole Miss and SEC record percentage of 92.8. He led the way for an Ole Miss team that finished 20-14 and made the first round of the NIT.
Ole Miss again cracked 20 wins with another 20-14 campaign in 2011–12, making another appearance in the NIT. On the back of All-SEC senior Terrance Henry, the team finished 8-8 in league play and advanced to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2007.
The 2014–2015 season saw Kennedy lead the Rebels back to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons, including a 94-90 win over BYU in the tournament's First Four. The Rebels were led that season by guards Stefan Moody, Jarvis Summers, and Ladarius White.
On December 22, 2014 Coach Kennedy won his 200th career game.
The 2015–2016 season was the last for the Ole Miss program in Tad Smith Coliseum. The Rebels played five non-conference games there, including a win over Troy in the final game in the facility. On January 7, 2016, Ole Miss opened the Pavilion at Ole Miss with a 74-66 win over Alabama. The Rebels were led in scoring by Stefan Moody's 23.6 ppg, which also led the Southeastern Conference. By finishing 10-8 in SEC play, the Rebels pushed their streak to five consecutive seasons of .500 or better in SEC play. That mark is also a program record.
In his 10 seasons in Oxford, Kennedy has produced 12 All-SEC guard selections, more than any other program in the Southeastern Conference.
Head coaching record
|Cincinnati (Big East) (2005–2006)|
|Cincinnati:||21–13 (.618)||8–8 (.500)|
|Ole Miss (SEC) (2006–present)|
|2006–07||Ole Miss||21–13||8–8||T–1st (West)||NIT Second Round|
|2007–08||Ole Miss||24–11||7–9||3rd (West)||NIT Semifinals|
|2008–09||Ole Miss||16–15||7–9||T–4th (West)|
|2009–10||Ole Miss||24–11||9–7||T–1st (West)||NIT Semifinals|
|2010–11||Ole Miss||20–14||7–9||T–3rd (West)||NIT First Round|
|2011–12||Ole Miss||20–13||8–8||T–6th||NIT First Round|
|2012–13||Ole Miss||27–9||12–6||T–2nd||NCAA Third Round|
|2014–15||Ole Miss||21–13||11–7||T–3rd||NCAA Second Round|
|Ole Miss:||228–135 (.628)||95–86 (.525)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
Kennedy and his wife, Kimber, have 2 daughters, Meagan and Kaitlin. He also has an older brother, Steve and younger sister, Julie.