March 21, 2013
OXFORD, Miss. – On the one year anniversary of his introduction, Ross Bjork’s contract as Ole Miss Athletics Director has been extended to reach the state maximum of four years while his base salary will increase from $400,000 to $460,000 annually, it was announced Thursday.
“It is hard to imagine an athletics director who has had a more successful first year,” said Chancellor Dan Jones. “Ross and his team have worked hard to bring Rebel Nation together. It is clear he has gained the confidence of the fan base, his colleagues in athletics administration, our coaches and athletes, and donors. And he certainly has my complete confidence.
“Working with Ross is a great pleasure. After one year, it is clear we share common values and both want Ole Miss to compete at the highest level in everything we do. I am confident that with the leadership from Ross we will enjoy success in athletics at the very highest level. I am confident, as well, that he will ensure our student-athletes take full advantage of the outstanding academic opportunities available to them at this university. Both of us take very seriously our responsibility for providing these student-athletes a solid foundation for a lifetime of success.”
Year one of the Bjork era in Oxford laid a foundation for success, including first-year head football coach Hugh Freeze guiding the Rebels to a bowl game for the first time in three years and the Rebels reclaiming the Egg Bowl trophy. That impressive turnaround was followed by an SEC men’s basketball tournament championship and the end to a 10-year NCAA Tournament drought.
“Each and every day I am truly grateful and humble for the opportunity afforded our family here in Oxford and at the University of Mississippi,” Bjork said. “We cannot thank Chancellor Jones enough for his confidence in my leadership and his belief in our staff and coaches who are helping propel Ole Miss Athletics to new heights.
“This has been a special year in my life and I get more excited each time I interact with our student-athletes, coaches, staff, alumni, fans, and students. Everyone in this program understands our commitment to success on the field, in the classroom, and in the long-term careers of these students. To see the tremendous passion for our program inspires me to continue providing confidence and vision for where we can take our program.”
Following a stint as Western Kentucky AD, Bjork’s Ole Miss tenure began with the inaugural Rebel Road Trip and has been followed by countless speaking engagements across the region.
While inspiring Ole Miss fans, Bjork has restructured Freeze’s contract as well as the athletics department with new divisions for External Affairs and Health & Sports Performance. The Athletics Foundation also underwent a rebrand, while the Forward Together campaign has risen from $62 million to over $81 million in the past year.
Bjork set the tone early at Ole Miss, appointing three executive level administrators for external relations, academic support and facilities/game operations and continues to take major steps with Rebel Athletics as negotiations are being finalized to make IMG College the multi-media rights-holder for Ole Miss.
“On a personal front, Sonya, Payton, Paxton and I love it here in Oxford, and we are committed to working with the right attitude and effort for a long time to come,” Bjork said.