Keith Carter formally hired as Ole Miss athletic director

OXFORD, Miss. -- Mississippi has removed the interim tag from athletic director Keith Carter's title.

The 43-year-old Carter had been the interim athletic director since Ross Bjork's departure in May. Bjork had been Ole Miss' athletic director for seven years before leaving for the same position at Texas A&M.

"Having the opportunity to be interim was so valuable,'' Carter said Friday afternoon at his introductory news conference. "I've said my whole career I've wanted to be an athletic director. You hear from sitting athletic directors, but until you're in the chair, you really don't know what it's all about, and I learned that on the first day, that that's absolutely true.

"It really solidified for me that I wanted to do this. Not only did it solidify that I wanted to be an athletic director, but that I wanted to do it at Ole Miss.''

Carter was a four-year starter for Ole Miss' basketball team, helping the Rebels win Southeastern Conference Western Division titles in 1997 and 1998. He was a first-team Associated Press all-SEC selection and earned honorable mention on the AP All-America team as a senior in 1999.

"I know what it takes to win championships here at Ole Miss,'' Carter said. "From cutting down the nets [as a player] to watching a Sugar Bowl win as an administrator, I understand the process and will do everything in my power to help us compete at the highest level. Ole Miss is a destination school, a flagship university that can attract the best student-athletes in the country, and it's my job to provide the leadership, facilities and resources necessary to win championships.''

Carter received a unanimous recommendation from a search committee that was chaired by Ole Miss alum and retired FedEx executive Mike Glenn. Former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback Archie Manning served in an advisory role to the committee and Ole Miss chancellor Glenn Boyce during the search process.

Carter joined Ole Miss' athletic department in September 2009. His jobs have included overseeing the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, serving as chief revenue officer and working as deputy athletic director for development and resource acquisition.

"We coached, mentored and trained him as a student-athlete, and now he stands ready to lead our athletics department forward and continue an upward rise in his career, and in bringing the trajectory of Ole Miss athletics into a new era,'' Boyce said. "There is no better or more rewarding story than the one of nurturing and fostering a leader who then returns to the institution that invested so much into that person.''

Ole Miss officials say the athletics foundation had its four highest years of donations under Carter's guidance.

"Keith Carter knows Ole Miss Athletics well after several years on Ross Bjork's leadership team, and he is already held in high esteem by ADs around the SEC,'' Manning said in a statement. "In short, Keith Carter offers the complete package to enjoy a long and successful run, and I am thrilled about the future of Ole Miss Athletics under Keith's leadership."