New Structure at Ole Miss

February 27, 2018

Ole Miss Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork announced Friday he has solidified his executive leadership team and that the university has created a Deputy General Counsel for Intercollegiate Athletics position. 

Bjork appointed three Deputy Athletics Directors: Keith Carter (Development and Resource Acquisition), Lynnette Johnson (Sports and Administration) and Michael Thompson (External Relations and Business Development).  

“We are constantly evaluating and analyzing our leadership structure and personnel to ensure that we are best serving our student-athletes and coaches,” said Bjork, “and the changes announced today reflect a more efficient approach to our work and vision for athletics to compete at a championship level. Keith, Lynnette and Michael are three of the best and most respected athletics administrators in the nation, and I am grateful for their commitment to Ole Miss and their wise counsel to me.”

A nationwide search has begun for a Deputy General Counsel for Intercollegiate Athletics, a new position created by the Office of General Counsel, which will provide leadership and oversight for the department’s compliance efforts, risk management and all legal matters. The position will be housed in the Athletics Administration Building.

“After deliberate and in-depth conversations with Chancellor Vitter and industry leaders, it became clear that the complex challenges and demands in today’s intercollegiate athletics world necessitate dedicated and experience counsel to help guide us,” Bjork said. “We are excited to be one of only a handful of programs in the country to have this position working exclusively for athletics, and we look forward to welcoming a new member of the Ole Miss family.”

In addition, several other members of the athletics senior leadership staff have been promoted in their roles: Angela Robinson to Senior Associate A.D. for Financial Operations; Jason List to Associate A.D. for Marketing; Drew Clinton to Assistant A.D. for Academics; Neal Mead to Assistant A.D. for Event Management; and Shane Sanford to Assistant A.D. for Broadcast Services.

“We have an amazing team of staff and coaches that support and lead our student-athletes at the highest level, and these individuals exemplify that excellence across the board,” said Bjork. “I am extremely proud of Angela, Jason, Neal, Drew and Shane and appreciate their hard work.”

A former Rebel Basketball All-American, Carter rejoined the athletics department in September 2009 and has served as Executive Director for the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation since June 2012. In his new role, he will function as the Chief Revenue Officer for the athletics department while continuing to oversee the Foundation and serve as the sport administrator for baseball and men’s basketball.

Under Carter’s guidance, the Foundation has experienced its four highest years for donations, including a record $45.6 million in cash contributions in 2015-16. During his tenure, commitments to the Forward Together capital campaign have increased from $62 to $174 million in cash and pledges toward its goal of $200 million.

The first female head athletic trainer in Southeastern Conference history, Johnson is entering her 20th year as the Senior Woman Administrator and 29th overall in the department. Her oversight includes human resources, student-athlete development, gender equity and policy-management for the department.  She serves as the sport administrator for nine Ole Miss programs, including women's basketball, rifle, soccer, softball, volleyball and men’s and women’s golf and tennis.

During her supervision of the sports, the teams under her purview have combined for 17 SEC Western Division championships and eight overall regular-season or tournament titles. Among the many highlights, the 2005 Rebel men’s tennis squad advanced to the NCAA Final Four; the women’s basketball team reached the 2007 Elite Eight; soccer played in the Sweet Sixteen in 2015; softball earned a Super Regional berth last year; and volleyball captured the NIVC crown in the fall.

Thompson will oversee all external operations and business relationships for Ole Miss Athletics and serve as the sport administrator for football. For the past eight years, he has held the title of Senior Associate A.D. for Communications and Marketing and provided leadership for the Rebels' communications strategy, marketing and fan experience efforts, creative and production services, media and public relations, digital strategy as well as information technology.

Upon his arrival in 2010, Thompson spearheaded a modernizing of Ole Miss’s marketing and communications structure, including the creation of dedicated external teams throughout the entire department. His expertise in consumer research and analytics led to Ole Miss’s annual fan experience surveys for five sports, a ground-breaking initiative in college athletics. Since 2014, Thompson has led all fan experience research for the conference in his role on the SEC Fan Experience Working Group.

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