J. Keith Carter, Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics of the University of Mississippi (Athletic Director) spoke to the Rotary Club of North Jackson at the Club’s May 26, 2020 meeting. The meeting was a Zoom one accommodating the considerations of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Carter said that he has been associated with the university for 25 years since he was recruited to play basketball. He is a native of Perryville, Arkansas, northwest of Little Rock. Being an Arkansas native, he was a committed Razorback fan growing up. His fondest desire was to play basketball for the University of Arkansas, but he was not recruited by the program. In fact, he only had one SEC basketball offer and that was from the University of Mississippi. When he reported to the campus in Oxford, he knew little about the university.  Following his collegiate days, during which he was an All American, Carter played basketball in Italy for 6 years. 

Following his Italian basketball career, Carter returned to Ole Miss and joined the Athletic Department where he focused on fundraising. He has worked in the Rebels' athletics department since 2009. He was the executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation since 2012 and took over as the deputy AD for resource and development acquisition in 2018.  In his time atop the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, Carter saw monetary commitments and donations nearly triple from $62 million to $182 million toward the Forward Together campaign. In 2016, the National Association of Athletic Development Directors named Carter the Fundraiser of the Year.

Carter was named interim Athletic Director in May 2019 when his predecessor, Ross Bjork resigned to take the same position at Texas A&M. He was elevated to AD on November 22, 2019.

In his talk to the club, Carter focused on reopening the intercollegiate athletic programs and taking care of the student-athletes. He said that fall sport athletes may begin voluntary practices on campus on June 8. There is still uncertainty as to when and in what manner fall sports will resume; i.e, whether there will be fans or not, and if so, how many. A lot remains to be seen.

We sincerely appreciate Carter’s presentation to the club. He is shown in the following photo during his presentation via Zoom.