Nutt is out in Oxford
Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2011
(AP) — After more than a year without a Southeastern Conference victory, Mississippi coach Houston Nutt will resign.
The fourth-year Rebels’ coach will lead the team for the remainder of the season, athletic director Pete Boone said at a press conference Monday. Boone also announced that he will step down as athletic director by the end of 2012.
The Rebels have lost 12 consecutive Southeastern Conference games, including Saturday’s 30-13 loss to Kentucky. Mississippi is 2-7 this year, including 0-6 in the SEC. Nutt is 24-23 in his four years in Oxford.
With his coaching staff lining the side of the team’s meeting room, Nutt said he wasn’t surprised by the decision.
“The thing about the SEC that I know,” said Nutt, 54. “They pay you to win.”
He is making approximately $2.7 million this season. Boone said the coach has a $6 million buyout clause in his contract. If no one on Nutt’s staff is retained by the next coach, the total buyout will be about $8 million.
“I’m grateful to coach Nutt for his commitment to our university and his commitment to our football program,” Ole Miss Chancellor Dr. Dan Jones said. “I know we’re all disappointed in the lack of success over the last two years.” Boone said he didn’t make an emotional decision about Nutt’s future, but instead weighed the total decline of the program during the past two seasons, which have produced a combined 6-15 record.
“Our goal is to compete for championships,” Boone said. “And we are not making progress in that regard.”
Ole Miss will play Louisiana Tech on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium before ending the season with two conference games against LSU and Mississippi State
Nutt’s stunning fall was hard to fathom just two years ago. The veteran coach came to Oxford after a 10-year tenure at Arkansas and immediately led Ole Miss to an 18-8 record over his first two seasons, including back-to-back Cotton Bowl victories over Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
It was the Rebels’ best back-to-back seasons in nearly 40 years.
But those victories came with recruits brought to Ole Miss by former coach Ed Orgeron, who was widely seen as a terrific recruiter but terrible game-day coach. Once the roster started filling with Nutt’s recruits, the talent level dropped noticeably.
The downfall began in the 2010 season opener, when Ole Miss was stunned by lowly Jacksonville State 49-48 in double overtime. It was the first time in program history that Ole Miss has lost to a team from the Football Championship Subdivision level.