Ole Miss and Mississippi State coaches and administrators are pushing Mississippi legislature to change the state flag.
Thursday morning, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach were among the individuals who addressed the legislature about removing the emblem of the Confederate battle flag.
“We removed the flag from our campus five years ago, so we’ve made it clear that it doesn’t represent who we are at Ole Miss,” Kiffin said in an interview with ESPN. “Today is another big step in doing our part to move the state forward and ensure a more welcoming environment for everyone. This is extremely important to me and to our players. Time to change!”
“The purpose of a state flag is to create pride and enthusiasm amongst the citizens,” Leach added. “It should also create great energy to elevate the economy, education and athletics. The current flag doesn’t do that. We need a state flag that everyone is proud of.”
Kiffin and Leach were joined by the likes of Ole Miss’ Keith Carter (Athletic Director), Kermit Davis (men’s basketball coach), Yolett McPhee-McCuin (women’s basketball coach), Mike Bianco (baseball coach), and Connie Price-Smith (track and field coach), along with Mississippi State’s Ben Howland (men’s basketball coach), Nikki McCray-Penson (women’s basketball coach), Chris Lemonis (baseball coach), Samantha Ricketts (softball coach), and Chris Woods (track and field coach).
This comes just a week after the NCAA and SEC both announced all postseason events were prohibited in the state of Mississippi until a change is made regarding the flag.
While Ole Miss and Mississippi State coaches and administration were the prominent SEC voices Thursday, all eight of the state’s public universities were in attendance, with the list of all participating individuals shown below:
These college coaches and officials will be advocating today in Jackson to change the Mississippi state flag. pic.twitter.com/Q6fOBCgbXw
— Patrick Magee (@Patrick_Magee) June 25, 2020
Last week, all eight public universities released a joint statement condemning the state flag in hopes of immediate change.
“Several years ago, our universities recognized that the Mississippi state flag in its current form is divisive and chose to lower the flag on our campuses,” the statement read. “Today, we are committed to continuing to do our part to ensure Mississippi is united in its pursuit of a future that is free of racism and discrimination. Such a future must include a new state flag.”