OXFORD, Miss. - A nationally recognized fundraiser who has worked alongside some of the biggest names in college athletics, Keith Carter will take the reins of the University of Mississippi athletics department 20 years after leading its men's basketball program to the top of the Southeastern Conference.
Following his professional hoops career, Carter has risen quickly through the athletics administration ranks, providing leadership in all facets of the department and working side-by-side with the AD on major strategic initiatives. Honored as the nation's top development officer in 2016, he has secured some of the largest financial gifts in school history while gaining experience from now fellow ADs Danny White (UCF), Allen Greene (Auburn) and Ross Bjork (Texas A&M).
Boyce: "This search was committed to finding the right leader who possesses the integrity and character needed to lead Ole Miss Athletics, a strong and proven record of success and excellent management and interpersonal skills. We were looking for someone who wants to be at Ole Miss, and who believes all of our programs can compete and win at every level. Keith Carter is absolutely the best person to lead Ole Miss Athletics to a new era of success."
Search committee chair Mike Glenn: "The Chancellor's charge to the committee was to hire the best Athletics Director for Ole Miss. After conducting an extensive search and interviewing a number of outstanding candidates, including sitting ADs from across the country, the committee made a unanimous decision to recommend Keith Carter. Keith's extensive background in fundraising and athletics administration, combined with years of experience at Ole Miss, were important factors in the committee's decision."
Search committee advisor Archie Manning: "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. 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."
Carter: "I want to thank Chancellor Boyce for his trust in me to lead this great athletics program forward. In my time as a student athlete and an administrator, I have experienced championship heights at Ole Miss, and I will work to provide the leadership and resources necessary for our teams to compete at that level year in and year out."
Before being named Interim Athletics Director in May 2019, Carter served as Ole Miss Deputy AD for Development and Resource Acquisition starting in February 2018. He was the Chief Revenue Officer for the athletics department while overseeing the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation and serving as the sport administrator for baseball and men's basketball. He led the search committee that selected Kermit Davis as head basketball coach.
Carter joined the athletics department in September 2009 and served as Executive Director for the Foundation beginning in June 2012. He received the 2016 Fundraiser of the Year Award from the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD).
Under Carter's guidance, the Foundation 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 increased from $62 million to $182 million in cash and pledges toward its goal of $200 million.
Among the major gifts was a $25 million gift from Jerry "Doc" Hollingsworth, which included $10 million in cash, the largest gift in the history of the Ole Miss athletics department by a single individual or organization. Carter is also responsible for at least 10 other seven-figure gifts. He has worked with executive level staff to build the vision for facilities growth through the Forward Together campaign, which included plans for the $96.5 million Pavilion at Ole Miss.
Carter joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation after a stint with the UM Foundation, where he worked in donor relations to meet the financial needs of the university's School of Business Administration.
A four-year starter at Ole Miss, Carter helped the Rebels to a pair of SEC Western Division titles in 1997 and 1998 and earned All-America honors after his senior season in 1999. The four-year starter received All-SEC first and second team honors in 1998 and 1999. He also won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. national team at the 1998 Goodwill Games. Carter played professional basketball in Italy from 2001 until 2008.
A native of Perryville, Arkansas, Carter lives in Oxford with his wife, Jill, and three children - Drew, Callie and Hayes.