JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Houston Nutt wasn't out of a job for long:
He was hired as Southeastern Conference rival Mississippi's
football coach just hours after resigning at Arkansas.
Nutt agreed to a contract late Monday night, and replaces Ed
Orgeron, who was fired Saturday after the Rebels lost to rival
Mississippi State to finish 3-9 and winless in the SEC.
The school announced the hiring through a three-paragraph e-mail
Tuesday sent out by athletic director Pete Boone. The school said a
news conference will be held Wednesday in Oxford. No contract
details were made available.
Ole Miss was searching for a proven winner after years of
mediocrity. Nutt neatly fits the description.
He is 111-70 in 15 years as a head coach at Arkansas, Boise
State and Murray State. And he's been a winner in the SEC. The
Little Rock, Ark., native rebuilt the Arkansas program, going 75-48
since his hiring in 1997 to replace Danny Ford. He was 42-38 in
conference with one of his biggest wins coming last week when the
Razorbacks beat then-No. 1 LSU 50-48 triple-overtime win.
While Arkansas is likely headed to the Cotton Bowl, Nutt will be
going to the homes of recruits attempting to hold together the
promising class Orgeron was assembling.
Nutt, 50, said Monday he left Arkansas to help mend a split
among fans after off-the-field problems were compounded by a
difficult season. The Razorbacks started the year ranked and were
expected to contend for the SEC West title against the Tigers.
Arkansas lost its first three SEC games and dropped out of the
poll in September, fueling fan discontent over last year's transfer
of quarterback Mitch Mustain and the loss of offensive coordinator
Gus Malzahn, who left for Tulsa.
A call to Nutt's agent, Jimmy Sexton, was not immediately
Nutt takes over a program that has foundered since a 10-win
season in 2003 under David Cutcliffe. The Rebels won a share of the
SEC West that season with Eli Manning at quarterback.
Since then Ole Miss has had four or fewer wins in four seasons.
Boone fired Cutcliffe in 2004 for a lack of effort in recruiting.
He had hoped Orgeron, who helped build two national title teams at
USC as Pete Carroll's recruiting coordinator, would bring the kind
of energy needed to compete in the nation's best football
Orgeron finished 10-25 and was routinely the target of fan
Boone and Chancellor Robert Khayat endorsed Orgeron midway
through the season, but decided to go in a new direction after the
Rebels lost five of six to end the year.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)