Nutt didn’t win enough to keep Ole Miss job
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 7:02 pm
By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Houston Nutt came to Mississippi with the goal of becoming the first coach to lead the Rebels to the Southeastern Conference championship game.
It didn’t happen, far from it. Over the past year, the Rebels couldn’t win a single SEC game.
“The thing about the SEC that I know,” Nutt said. “They pay you to win.”
By that standard, he didn’t earn his salary over the past two seasons. That’s why Nutt said Monday he wasn’t surprised he was asked to resign at the end of the season.
The Rebels have lost 12 consecutive Southeastern Conference games, including Saturday’s 30-13 loss to Kentucky. Mississippi is 2-7 this year, 0-6 in the SEC. Nutt is 24-23 in his four years in Oxford.
He’ll stay to lead the Rebels for the season’s final three games, beginning with a home contest against Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Mississippi athletic director Pete Boone announced the move during a press conference with members of a somber coaching staff filling the back of the room.
Boone also said he will step down as AD by the end of 2012.
“I wanted to be the first coach to take them to Atlanta. One of the best venues out there,” Nutt said. “We fell short of that goal.
“I believe our program is in better shape than it was when I arrived.”
Nutt is making approximately $2.7 million this season. Boone said the coach has a $6 million buyout clause in his contract. However, 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 hosts 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 54-year-old 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.
Published in The Messenger 11.8.11