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Ole Miss deputy athletic director Stephen Ponder resigns

Ole Miss has lost one of its top athletic administrators.

Stephen Ponder, the Rebels’ deputy athletic director, has resigned because of a personal matter. Ponder also served as the senior executive associate athletic director for external affairs for the last five years.

Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork commended Ponder’s work and wished he and his family well but did not comment further on the move when reached by phone Wednesday other than to say it was not related to the NCAA’s investigation into the football program.

Michael Thompson, the school’s associate athletic director for communications and marketing, and Ole Miss Athletics Foundation Executive Director Keith Carter will share Ponder’s responsibilities for now. Bjork said there’s no timetable on finding a permanent replacement.

Ponder helped with the oversight of football, men’s basketball and baseball as the deputy athletic director, a position he had held since October 2016. Ponder was initially hired by Bjork in June 2012 to head the school’s new external relations unit and supervised those areas, including fundraising, marketing, facilities and gameday operations.

Before coming to Ole Miss, Ponder spent five seasons at Arizona State as the senior associate athletic director for external relations and executive director of the Sun Devil Club. He also spent 16 years as a fundraiser at North Carolina State, his alma mater.

Ponder and his wife, Sloane, have two sons, Stetson and Stratton.