Since Friday, Ole Miss has lost two things that they had in their grasp -- the Egg Bowl and a head football coach.
Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat and athletic director Pete Boone met with Ed Orgeron at 9:00 a.m. Saturday to notify him that he will not be retained as the Rebels' head man.
Boone said there were five areas he evaluated Coach O in -- producing a fundamentally sound team, consistent motivation, leadership, ability to adapt, and game management. Although the school recently backed Orgeron publicly as their coach for 2008, Boone said Saturday that he just didn't fully meet the criteria down the stretch.
Coach O became the 35th head football coach at Ole Miss after he was hired to replace David Cutcliffe in December 2004. He posted a 10-25 record in three seasons in Oxford, with only three wins in the Southeastern Conference. In 2007, the Rebels went winless in the SEC for the first time since 1982.
According to Boone in a press conference, the athletic department had notified players of their decision to dismiss Orgeron by sending text messages Saturday morning.
He will meet with the team when they return to campus Sunday, but the media relations department at Ole Miss was able to talk with some of the players who seemed shocked by Saturday's turn of events.
"This was unforeseen...I hate it for the coaches and players, but you have to respect the decision that Ole Miss made," quarterback Seth Adams said.
"I am shocked," running back Benjarvis Green-Ellis told the school. "I never thought this would happen. It is unfortunate. The team has to stay together. The young guys have to grow stronger."
Coach Orgeron was regarded as one of the college game's greatest recruiters. His first full recruiting class was in 2006, and it was ranked one of the best in the country.
Coach O signed quarterback Brent Schaeffer that February, along with two Meridian High School standout running backs Cordera Eason and Derrick Davis.