Houston Nutt: Wikis


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Houston Nutt
Houston Nutt at the 2007 SEC Media Days
Title Head coach
College Ole Miss
Sport Football
Conference SEC
Team record 18-8
Born October 14, 1957 (1957-10-14) (age 52)
Place of birth Little Rock, Arkansas
Annual salary $2,500,000[1]
Career highlights
Overall 128-79
Bowls 4-5
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
3 SEC Western Division Titles (1998, 2002, 2006)
Eddie Robinson Award (1995)
3x SEC Coach of the Year (2001, 2006, 2008)
2x AFCA Division I-AA Region 3 Coach of the Year (1995-1996)
AFCA Division I-A Region 2 Coach of the Year (1998)
The Football News Division I-A Coach of the Year (1998)
Playing career
Oklahoma State
Position Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Oklahoma St. (WR)
Arkansas (GA)
Arkansas St. (AC)
Oklahoma St. (AC)
Arkansas (AC)
Murray State
Boise State
Ole Miss

Houston Dale Nutt, Jr. (born October 14, 1957) is an American football coach and current head football coach at the University of Mississippi.


Early life and family

Houston Nutt, Jr. was born on October 14, 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas, United States. He is the son of the late Houston Dale Nutt, Sr., and Emogene Nutt and is the oldest of four children. Houston Nutt, Sr. briefly played basketball for the University of Kentucky under Adolph Rupp before transferring to Oklahoma A&M in 1952. Nutt graduated from Little Rock Central High School.[2] His parents taught at the Arkansas School for the Deaf at Little Rock, Arkansas for 35 years. His father also served as athletic director and head basketball coach for the school. His father was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. During his childhood, Houston and his brothers were daily members at the Billy Mitchell Boys and Girls Club in Little Rock.

Often referred to as the "Right Reverend" Houston Nutt because he is known for his fiery and inspirational speeches to his teams.[3]

Wife Diana, like Nutt, graduated from Oklahoma State University. They have four children together: Houston III (born March 11, 1987), twins Hailey and Hanna (born September 26, 1988), and Haven (born March 19, 1991).

Nutt's brother Dickey Nutt was the head basketball coach at Arkansas State University until he announced his resignation on February 19, 2008. His brother Danny Nutt is currently the Assistant Athletics Director for Player Development at Ole Miss. Nutt's other brother Dennis Nutt, a former NBA player, is a scout for the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association.

College athletic career

Nutt was the last player recruited by legendary Arkansas head coach Frank Broyles before his retirement in 1976. Nutt was recruited as a drop-back style quarterback and started four games as a true freshman after starting quarterback Ron Calcagni was sidelined with an injury. Nutt also played that year for the Southwest Conference champion Arkansas basketball team under coach Eddie Sutton which went 26–2 and bulled its way to a 16–0 conference mark.

With the retirement of Frank Broyles, Arkansas hired Lou Holtz as the head football coach. Holtz established an option offense which did not make use of Nutt's passing style and relegated him to the bench as a backup.

Disappointed by his lack of playing time, Nutt transferred to Oklahoma State University and played two years as a backup quarterback. During his time at Oklahoma State he also played for the basketball team. Nutt graduated from Oklahoma State in 1981 with a degree in physical education.

Coaching career


Assistant coaching

After graduation Nutt became a graduate assistant for Oklahoma State under head coach Jimmy Johnson. In 1983 Nutt returned to Arkansas and became an assistant coach under his former coach Lou Holtz. In the spring of 1984 Nutt was hired by Arkansas State University as a full-time assistant coach but he spent only four months there before returning to Oklahoma State that summer as a receiver's coach.

Nutt spent six seasons as an assistant coach for receivers and quarterbacks at Oklahoma State and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1989. During his years at Oklahoma State he coached legendary running backs Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas.

Coach Nutt before an Arkansas Razorback football game.

In 1990 Nutt returned to the University of Arkansas as an assistant under head coach Jack Crowe and established a reputation as an excellent recruiter. Nutt remained with the Razorbacks for three seasons and established relationships with Arkansas high school football coaches that would serve him in good stead in later years.

Murray State University

In 1993 Nutt received his first head coaching position at NCAA Division I-AA Murray State University. The team went 4–7 and 5–6 in Nutt's first two years.

In 1995 his efforts paid off with an 11-1 record and an Ohio Valley Conference championship after reeling off an 8–0 conference mark. Nutt received Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors and was recognized with the Eddie Robinson National Division I-AA Coach of the Year Award.

Nutt repeated his success for the 1996 season with an 11–2 record and another undefeated run through his Ohio Valley Conference schedule. Murray State won its first round Division I-AA playoff appearance, earning Nutt the OVC Coach of the Year honors and regional Coach of the Year honors.

Boise State University

Nutt made the step up to NCAA Division I-A the next year when Boise State University hired him to take over their program, which was the lowest ranked of 112 Division I-A schools and had posted a 2–10 record the year before. Boise State had just made the jump to Division I-A football and was looking for a recruiter and motivator to jump start their program.

Nutt's team earned a 5-6 record in 1997 playing at the Division I-A level with its Division I-AA players. Nutt's team beat rival Idaho and almost pulled off an upset against Big Ten Conference program Wisconsin.

University of Arkansas

Nutt became the head coach of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks on December 10, 1997 succeeding head coach Danny Ford. Nutt, during his first press conference as coach, immediately mentioned a "National Championship" as his goal and felt that Arkansas had the program to win one. The Razorback team had suffered through a long low period under a succession for head coaches in the previous years, having only received two bowl game bids in the eight seasons prior to Nutt's arrival.

Under Nutt, the Razorbacks were one of three SEC schools to play in three New Year's Day bowls within five years. Nutt's teams have been noted for a series of overtime games including the two longest overtime games in NCAA history. Off the field, some of Nutt's players have been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll 145 times[4] and he has established a reputation as a responsible coach academically. Some criticism has come for an SEC win record just barely over .500 and because he calls his own offensive plays during a game instead of relying on an offensive coordinator. In his first six seasons Nutt led the team to a bowl game each year and averaged eight wins per season.


Nutt's Razorbacks were picked to finish last in the Southeastern Conference Western Division in 1998 but ended up with a 9–3 record and a share of the division title. The Razorbacks lost to the eventual National Champion University of Tennessee on its home field after Arkansas quarterback Clint Stoerner fumbled while trying to run out the clock. For their efforts the Razorbacks received their first-ever invitation to the Citrus Bowl and ended the season ranked 16th after losing to the University of Michigan. Nutt was selected as the Football News' National Coach of the Year.


In 1999 Nutt's Razorbacks were picked to win the SEC Western Division but suffered a series of setbacks during the season but recovered to defeat nationally ranked Tennessee and Mississippi State University to earn a Cotton Bowl Classic bid versus arch-rival Texas. The Razorbacks defeated Texas 27–6, becoming the first team to ever hold Texas to negative rushing yards in a game. The Cotton Bowl Classic victory propelled them into the Top 20 rankings to end the season.


For the 2000 season the Razorbacks lost the core of their team and suffered a string of injuries including season-ending injuries to all of the starting running backs. The Razorbacks struggled through the season as a question mark until the final two games when they defeated ranked Mississippi State and LSU teams to pull out another winning record and another bowl appearance.


In the 2001 season the Razorbacks started off with three straight losses in SEC play. They then came back to win six of the last seven including ranked South Carolina and Auburn teams. Based on this performance the Razorbacks were selected to return to the Cotton Bowl Classic to face the defending National Champion Oklahoma Sooners, which they lost gaining only 50 yards of total offense and just 6 first downs.


In 2002 Nutt's Razorbacks stumbled midway through the season but pulled together five straight wins, including a last second touchdown pass against LSU, often referred to as the "Miracle on Markham" to pull out a share of a Western Division Title. Arkansas was defeated by the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game and ended the season with another loss to Minnesota in the Music City Bowl.


In 2003 Nutt's team started off with a 4–0 record including a win against #5 Texas on their home field. The early season success raised fans expectations sky-high and put Nutt under intense pressure when the Razorbacks lost their next three games putting them out of contention for the National Championship or even the SEC Western Division crown. The Razorbacks won 4 of their last 5 games and defeated Missouri in the Independence Bowl. After the 2003 season, Nebraska was rumored to be courting Nutt to be their head coach, after the firing of Frank Solich.


The 2004 and 2005 campaigns were widely expected to be rebuilding years, due to very young teams (a "young team" is one that relies heavily on underclassman, such as freshman and sophomores). The 2004 season ended with a 5–6 record, and the team ended the year without a bowl invitation for the first time under Coach Nutt (since 1998, 6 straight bowls).

The 2005 season was also a rebuilding year as expected. Tough losses to the USC Trojans as well as to Vanderbilt and South Carolina showed that the season had been predicted accurately. The team was ineligible for a bowl for the second season in a row (and the second season overall under coach Nutt). This led to Arkansas Razorback fans calling for coaching changes. After meeting with Frank Broyles (athletic director) at the conclusion of the season, coaching changes were made by Nutt in the offseason, the most notable of which was the addition of Gus Malzahn (previously the head coach at Springdale High School in Springdale, Arkansas) as offensive coordinator. The hiring of Malzahn allowed Nutt to sign several highly recruited Springdale players, including Springdale High School quarterback Mitch Mustain and wide receiver Damian Williams who eventually transferred to USC because of disagreements with the coaching staff.


The 2006 season began with the Razorbacks losing 50–14, at a home game in Fayetteville, to the University of Southern California. Following the loss to the Trojans, Nutt announced that Mustain would replace Robert Johnson as the Hogs' starting quarterback. Mustain led Arkansas to 8 straight wins, including wins against 22nd-ranked Alabama at home and second-ranked Auburn at Auburn, before losing the starting job to Casey Dick. Dick had been slotted to start at the beginning of the season but was unable to do so due to a back injury suffered in the spring. Dick led the Razorbacks to two victories out of four for a total of 10 wins, including a win over 13th ranked Tennessee. The Razorbacks moved to No. 7 in the BCS poll. However, the Hogs lost their last regular season game to the 8th ranked LSU Tigers 31–26.

Despite the loss, the Hogs were still Western Division Champions of the SEC, and played the 11–1, 4th ranked Florida Gators for the SEC Championship. Florida won, 38–28. The Razorbacks lost to the 5th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers on New Year's Day, 2007 in Orlando in the Capital One Bowl.

A highlight of the season was the second place finish of do-everything tailback Darren McFadden in the Heisman Trophy voting. McFadden set a school season record for rushing, and also had receiving, return and passing touchdowns to his credit during the season. At the conclusion of his sophomore season, he had amassed more rushing yards in two seasons than any SEC back in history excluding Georgia's Herschel Walker, largely on the back of the Wildcat offensive scheme, instituted by offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, that Arkansas ran.


The 2007 season began with the Razorbacks ranked 21st by the AP Poll. The Hogs opened at home with a victory over Troy. However, early losses to Alabama and the Kentucky Wildcats, the most unexpected of three consecutive SEC losses, knocked Arkansas out of the rankings and made the remaining SEC schedule an uphill struggle. During that time many fans wanted Nutt gone.

On November 23, 2007 in Baton Rouge, Nutt's Razorbacks beat the top-ranked football team in the nation. In a game that lasted into three overtime periods, Arkansas defeated the formidable and eventual national champion LSU Tigers, 50–48, returning the Golden Boot back to Arkansas.


Three days later, Nutt resigned as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks amid several controversies and controversial allegations which had come prior to and throughout the 2007 season.[5][6] He left the school with a 75-48 record, which is second on the school's all-time win list, behind only Broyles.

University of Mississippi

On November 27, 2007 Nutt was hired as the new head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels, replacing former head coach Ed Orgeron who had been fired after three consecutive losing seasons.[7] His move to Ole Miss has served to stoke the long-standing Arkansas – Ole Miss rivalry.

It was announced on April 16, 2009 that Nutt and his wife Diana had committed to give a gift of $100,000 dollars to Ole Miss, evenly divided between the university's Indoor Practice Facility and the creation of student-athlete scholarships.[8]


After a 41-24 victory over border rival Memphis to open the season, the Rebels suffered a loss to the then-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 30-28, on a last-second field goal. After defeating Samford University, the Rebels traveled to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Ole Miss defeated the No. 4-ranked (and eventual national champion) Gators 31-30 after blocking what would have been Florida's tying extra point and a Rebel defensive stop of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow on fourth and inches. The next weekend, the Rebels lost to South Carolina.

Next on the schedule was Alabama, ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time. During the game, Ole Miss became the first team Alabama trailed in the 2008 season. Alabama ultimately prevailed, however, in the final series of the game, winning 24-20. Then came Arkansas; Houston Nutt, facing his old team, came out victorious, 23-21. The Rebels followed that with a 17-7 home win against Auburn. On November 15, Ole Miss beat Louisiana-Monroe 59-0 to push their record to 6-4 and become bowl eligible for the first time since 2003. Ole Miss next beat then-ranked No. 18 LSU 31-13 in Baton Rouge, snapping a 6-game losing streak to the Tigers, earning the Rebels an Associated Press ranking of No. 25 (for the first time in four years Ole Miss has been ranked), and putting them in position for a possible bid to the Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, Texas.[9] The Rebels went on to beat SEC West and in-state rival Mississippi State University 45-0 in the Egg Bowl to finish the regular season at 8-4. The win over the Bulldogs moved the Rebels up to No. 22 in the AP Poll and landed the team their first ranking of the year in the USA Today Coaches' Poll coming in at No. 25. Ole Miss defeated the No.7-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders 47-34 in the Cotton Bowl Classic.


The Ole Miss Rebels began the 2009 season rated highly by the media. After beating Memphis 45-14 and Southeastern Louisiana 52-6, which gave Ole Miss the second longest winning streak in the nation at 8 games dating back to the 2008 season, Ole Miss climbed as high as #4 in the Associated Press poll before losing their 2009 SEC opener 10-16 on the road at South Carolina on September 24, a Thursday night game. This caused Ole Miss to fall 17 spots in the AP poll, down to #21. In 11 years as an SEC head coach, Houston Nutt is now 5-6 in SEC openers. He is now 4-7 in SEC road openers. Ole Miss went on the road again and beat Vanderbilt the next week, 23-7. Ole Miss was able to beat #8 ranked LSU 25-23 at Oxford. Ole Miss lost to in-state and SEC rival Mississippi State on November 28, 2009 in Starkville 41-27 in the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss was picked to play in the 2010 Cotton Bowl Classic for the second year in a row, where they defeated Oklahoma State 21-7 to end the 2009 season.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
Murray State Racers (Ohio Valley Conference) (1993–1996)
1993 Murray State 4–7 4–4 4th
1994 Murray State 5–6 4–4 4th
1995 Murray State 11–1 8–0 1st
1996 Murray State 11–2 8–0 1st
Murray State: 31–16 24–8
Boise State Broncos (Big West Conference) (1997)
1997 Boise State 5–6* 3–2
Boise State: 5–6 3–2 *63-23 loss vs. Cal State Northridge was forfeited for rules infractions.[10]
Arkansas Razorbacks (Southeastern Conference) (1998–2007)
1998 Arkansas 9–3 6–2 T-1st (West) L Florida Citrus 17 16
1999 Arkansas 8–4 4–4 3rd (West) W Cotton 19 17
2000 Arkansas 6–6 3–5 5th (West) L Las Vegas
2001 Arkansas 7–5 4-4 3rd (West) L Cotton
2002 Arkansas 9–5 5–3 T-1st (West)[11] L Music City
2003 Arkansas 9–4 4–4 4th (West) W Independence
2004 Arkansas 5–6 3–5 3rd (West)
2005 Arkansas 4–7 2–6 4th (West)
2006 Arkansas 10–4 7–1 1st (West) L Capital One 16 15
2007 Arkansas 8–4* 4–4 3rd (West) Invited to Cotton* 25*
Arkansas: 75–48 42–38 *Coached all regular season games but left Arkansas before the Cotton Bowl.
Ole Miss Rebels (SEC West) (2008–present)
2008 Ole Miss 9–4 5–3 2nd (West) W Cotton 15 14
2009 Ole Miss 9–4 4–4 3rd (West) W Cotton 21 20
Ole Miss: 18–8 9–7
Total: 129-78
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Pokey Allen
Boise State Head Football Coach
1996–1997 (first year as Div. I-A)
Succeeded by
Dirk Koetter
Preceded by
Danny Ford
University of Arkansas Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
Reggie Herring (interim)
Preceded by
Ed Orgeron
University of Mississippi Head Football Coaches
Succeeded by


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