The coach who led the Murray State football team to an 11-1 season in 1995 as well as to an OVC Championship with a perfect 8-0 record in 1995 and 1996, will resign from Mississippi State at the end of the season.
Houston Nutt will finish out the season with Ole Miss, a decision Athletics Director Pete Boone said was made in the interest of continuity and stability for student-athletes as they near the end of the semester and end of the season.
“Our goal is to compete for championships, and we are not making progress in that regard,” Boone said. “It’s time for our team to have new leadership and a new direction.”
In his fourth season at Mississippi, Nutt has a 24-23 overall record, but the team has slumped after it went 9-4 and won the Cotton Bowl in both of his first two years. He is being paid $2.76 million this season as part of a contract that runs through 2014. He would have to be paid a $6 million buyout if relieved of his coaching duties after this season.
“My time at Ole Miss has been very special, and I’ve enjoyed working with a wonderful group of athletes and the Ole Miss community at large,” Nutt said in a university press release. “Change is never easy, but I understand why it’s necessary. My attention is on finishing out the 2011 season and winning this Saturday.”
During the 1995 OVC season, the Racers scored a school-record 421 points and had the most improved record in NCAA Division I-AA football. Their league championship was the school’s first since 1986. Nutt was named OVC Coach of the Year and The Sports Network/Eddie Robinson National Division I-AA Coach of the Year.
In 1996, the Racers posted an 11-2 record, including a perfect 8-0 mark in OVC play, winning their second consecutive league title. Murray State won its first I-AA playoff game in school history while eclipsing the school scoring record set just the season before. Nutt was again named OVC and Regional Coach of the Year.
A Houston, Ill., native, Nutt coached at Boise State and University of Arkansas before taking the head coaching position at Ole Miss in 2008.