Ole Miss and Nutt

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2007

New Ole Miss head football coach Houston Nutt made a point during an introductory press conference Wednesday afternoon. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

Rebels enter Nutt era

By Brad Greer
It did not take long for Ole Miss to find their man.

Just two days after the firing of Ed Orgeron, ex – University of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt was introduced as the Rebels new head coach to approximately 1,500 cheering fans Wednesday afternoon during a news conference at the Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for the Performing Arts on the Oxford campus.

Nutt replaces Orgeron who was fired Saturday after winning only 10 games in three years and going winless in conference play for the first time since 1982.

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Ole Miss Athletic Director Pete Boone said Nutt’s integrity and competitives along with his track record won him over.

“When the opportunity came to look for a head coach, I wanted to find a proven SEC head coach, preferably one that has won several SEC Western Division Championships and his had nine or ten All-Americans on his teams and has been to eight   bowl games in 10 years. It was pretty clear that coach Nutt was the perfect fit,” said Boone.

Nutt, a Little Rock, Ark. native, spent 10 years at Arkansas while compiling a 75- 48 record and a 111- 70 overall record in 15 seasons with stops at Boise St. and Murray St. The 50- year-old Nutt guided the Razorbacks to seven bowl appearances along with three SEC Western division titles in his tenure.

Nutt said one of the reasons he came to Ole Miss was because of the school’s strong tradition.

“My dad and I talked about the tradition of this place a long time ago. Bruiser Kinard, Jake Gibbs and Archie Manning, the list goes on and on. I had the privilege to coach against Deuce McAllister and Eli Manning. One thing I like about Ole Miss is their tradition, that’s why I’m here. I feel like this place can be successful. I feel like we can win here.  The way you spell fun is W-I-N. That’s what it is all about,” said Nutt.

Nutt met with all of the returning players and will hit the recruiting trail and talk to all of the prospects already commented to the Rebels. One stop Nutt reportedly made late Wednesday was to South Panola to visit with head coach Lance Pogue and Rebel commitments Bud Barksdale, Tig Barksdale and Quin Sanford.

“First, I want to talk to all of the players. I can’t wait to look them in the eyes. The next thing is getting a staff together. It’s always a world-wind the first 10-12 days. It is very difficult, but my first priority is to get to know the players as quick as I can.”

Nutt agreed to a four-year, $ 7.4 million contract with options for three more years totaling 6.6 million. Annual incentives include $30,000 for bowl games and $90,000 for winning the SEC championship.