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Houston Nutt
Houston Nutt
Houston Nutt as Ole Miss Rebels head coach, rallying his team before big game
Biographical details
Born October 14 1957 (1957-10-14) (age 66)
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
Alma mater Arkansas / Oklahoma State
Playing career
Position(s) Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
Head coaching record
Overall 129–96
Bowls 4–5
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
2 OVC (1995–1996)
3 SEC Western Division (1998, 2002, 2006)
Awards
Eddie Robinson Award (1995)
OVC Coach of the Year (1995–1996)
SEC Coach of the Year (2001, 2006, 2008)
2× 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)

Houston Nutt (born October 14, 1957) is a former football head coach for Murray State, Boise State, Arkansas, and Ole Miss.

Early life and family[]

Houston Nutt Jr. was born in Arkansas, a distant descendant of Haller Nutt and member of the Nutt family, which is prominent in Southern society. 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 (now Oklahoma State) in 1952. Nutt graduated from Little Rock Central High School.[1] 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.

Wife Diana, like Nutt, graduated from Oklahoma State University. The couple 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. He was also head coach at Southeast Missouri State of the OVC. He now coaches basketball at Stetson University. His brother Danny Nutt served as the Assistant Athletics Director for Player Development at Ole Miss during Houston's tenure as head coach. Nutt's youngest brother Dennis Nutt, a former NBA player, is head men's basketball coach at Ouachita Baptist University.

College athletic career[]

Nutt was the last player recruited by 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 accomplished a 16–0 conference mark.

With the retirement of Broyles, Arkansas hired Lou Holtz as the head football coach. Holtz established an option offense that did not make use of Nutt's passing style and relegated him to the bench as a backup.[2]

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 a graduate assistant coach under 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 wide receivers 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 helped mentor running back Barry Sanders, who won the 1988 Heisman Trophy and Buffalo Bills legend Thurman Thomas.

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[]

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[]

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. Two years after making the Division I-AA finals in 1994, the Broncos had an interim head coach in 1996 as head coach Pokey Allen battled cancer. Boise State's first year in Division I-A had been difficult; the school was looking for a recruiter and motivator to jump start their program following Allen's death in late December.

Nutt's team posted 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 on the road in overtime for the first Boise win in Moscow, Idaho since 1981. Additionally, Boise State almost pulled off an upset against Wisconsin of the Big Ten.

Arkansas[]

Nutt became the head coach of the 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 Razorbacks had suffered through a low period under a succession of head coaches in the previous years, having only received two bowl game bids in the eight seasons prior to Nutt's arrival.

Upon his arrival at Arkansas, Nutt invigorated the Razorback fan base with his enthusiasm and high energy. 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 were noted for a series of overtime games including the two longest overtime games in NCAA history. Off the field, some of Nutt's players were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll 145 times[3] and he established a reputation as a responsible coach academically. Nutt received some criticism for a SEC win-loss record that was just barely over .500 and because he called 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.

Ole Miss[]

On November 27, 2007, Nutt was hired as the new head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels, replacing former head coach Ed Orgeron, who was fired after three consecutive losing seasons.[4] Nutt's move to Ole Miss 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 to Ole Miss, evenly divided between the university's indoor practice facility and the creation of student-athlete scholarships.[5]

Coaching History[]

References[]

  1. Allen, Nate. "Nutt resigns as Hogs' head coach", The Baxter Bulletin, November 27, 2007. Accessed November 27, 2007. "Broyles — who as coach recruited Nutt from Little Rock Central to the Razorbacks as a quarterback in 1976 — and White both lauded Nutt's accomplishments..."
  2. Harris, Jim (May 31, 2007) [1]. arkansassports360.com.
  3. Head Coach Houston Nutt – University of Arkansas Athletics. hogwired.com
  4. ESPN:Nutt agrees with Ole Miss hours after resignation. Sports.espn.go.com (November 28, 2007). Retrieved on July 19, 2015.
  5. Recek Travis (April 16, 2009) Houston Nutt and Wife Diana Donate To Ole Miss. Fox40 News

External Links[]

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