Mississippi Andy Kennedy

Mississippi head coach Andy Kennedy speaks at a press conference at the Pavilion at Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. Kennedy, in his 12th season as Mississippi head coach, announced he would not return as coach following this season.(Bruce Newman/Oxford Eagle via AP)

Bruce Newman

Mississippi basketball coach Andy Kennedy resigned from the program Sunday less than a week after announcing he would step down at the end of the 2017-2018 season.

Assistant coach Tony Madlock will take over as head coach for the remainder of the season, the university said in a news release.

The decision for Kennedy to immediately resign comes a day after the Rebels lost a 79-62 contest to Mississippi State at home Saturday. It was the seventh straight loss for Ole Miss in a stretch of losing nine out of their last 11 games. 

It was also the second blowout the Rebels suffered since Kennedy made his initial announcement, as the team suffered a 75-64 loss to Arkansas on Tuesday.

In a statement regarding his resignation, Kennedy said his decision to announce his departure at the end of the season stemmed from the need to lift "the cloud" hanging over the Rebels' season from speculation regarding his future as head coach.

He also wanted to quell any divisive distractions among the team's supporters, allow Ole Miss Vice Chancellor Ross Bjork to move forward with searching for the program's next head coach and relieve any external pressure being felt by his players. 

Kennedy said he felt his decision accomplished all but relieving the pressure on the players. In his statement, he said it is apparent his continued presence over Rebels basketball is proving detrimental to the team finishing the season strong.

"... therefore, I believe that it is in everyone's best interest that I exit my role as head coach effective immediately," he said. "We all know that 'clean breaks' are always best, and I should have realized this last Monday. My apologies." 

Bjork gave Kennedy's decision his full support in a statement released by the university.

"Coach Kennedy will always be remembered as an Ole Miss Rebel, and we wish him the best," he said.

Kennedy, a two-time SEC Coach of the Year, is the Ole Miss' most winningest basketball coach, notching a 245-156 record in 12 seasons.

His other accolades include 11 postseason wins, eight postseason berths, nine 20-win seasons, 11 straight winning seasons, two NCAA Tournament appearances, two NIT Final Fours, two SEC West titles, an SEC Tournament Championship.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.