AD Bjork leaves Ole Miss for Texas A&M job

NCAAF

Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork has been named the athletic director at Texas A&M.

Bjork, 46, served as Ole Miss’ athletic director for the last seven years and replaces Scott Woodward, who left for the same role at LSU in April.

Bjork will be formally introduced in College Station on June 3, following SEC Spring Meetings next week in Destin, Florida. He will begin work at Texas A&M on July 8. R.C. Slocum will remain interim AD until Bjork’s arrival. Slocum will then transition back to being Special Assistant to the President.

“I am thrilled to welcome Ross Bjork to Aggieland,” Texas A&M President Michael K. Young said in a statement. “His outstanding reputation as a leader will be vital to the continued trajectory of our athletics program. His appreciation for higher education is evident in achieving the highest GPA and graduation rates on record during his tenure at Ole Miss.”

“I am proud of the athletics accomplishments and the infrastructure improvements we were able to achieve during the last seven years, but I am most proud of our student-athletes,” Bjork said in a statement released by Ole Miss. “They always believed they could achieve greatness in the classroom, and now Ole Miss Athletics has the highest grade point average, graduation rates and APR scores in n the history of the program.”

Bjork, though, endured an up-and-down tenure in Oxford, Mississippi. While Ole Miss’ football program rose to national prominence by going 19-7 over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, the Rebels would later have to vacate 33 football wins over six seasons between 2010 and 2016 for fielding ineligible players.

Ole Miss received the sanctions after being accused of 15 Level I violations under former head coach Hugh Freeze. The NCAA panel on infractions said the school lacked institutional control and fostered “an unconstrained culture of booster involvement in football recruiting.”

Eight of those vacated wins came during a 2014 season in which the Rebels beat No. 3 Alabama 23-17 at home and eventually rose as high as No. 3 in the polls.

Some of the charges date back to the tenure of previous coach Houston Nutt, who was fired in 2011, but most of them involve conduct that happened under Freeze.

The school served a two-year postseason ban in 2017 and 2018 and was given three years of probation, through 2020, as well as scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions in sanctions handed down more than a year ago.

In 2015-16, Ole Miss was the nation’s only school to win nine regular-season football games, 20 regular-season men’s basketball games and 40 regular-season baseball games. In the 2014-15 season Ole Miss was one of only two schools to make a New Year’s Six bowl and the NCAA tournament in men’s hoops and baseball. The football team was one of just five to make the New Year’s Six in each of the first two years of the playoff.

Bjork was also known as an innovative AD during his time at Ole Miss, especially when it came to facilities. Both basketball programs moved into the $94.5 million Pavilion at Ole Miss in January of 2016. More than $65 million was invested into the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium including a new north end zone, new field club, new and renovated suites, natural grass playing surface, new sound system, new lights, new entry plazas, and three new video boards. Capacity also increased by approximately 4,000.

The Manning Center, the football team’s athletic facility, underwent a $12.5 million renovation and expansion. The athletic department saw its revenue more than double during Bjork’s tenure — from $57 million to $117 million.

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