It’s official: Houston Nutt to resign at season’s end; AD on way out, too

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Following up on rumors that have been swirling since Saturday night, Ole Miss has officially announced that a change at head coach will be made.

In a press conference Monday, athletic director (for now) Pete Boone confirmed that the 2011 season will be the last for Houston Nutt.  In his fourth year at the school, Nutt will coach the Rebels’ final three games before stepping down and giving way to a new sideline boss.

The decision to fire Nutt was made on Sunday.

“Our goal is to compete for championships, and we are not making progress in that regard,” said Boone in a statement. “It’s time for our team to have new leadership and a new direction.”

“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.  “Change is never easy, but I understand why it’s necessary. My attention is on finishing out the 2011 season and winning this Saturday.”

In his fourth season at Ole Miss, Nutt has compiled a 24-23 overall mark, including an embarrassing 10-20 record in SEC play.  The Rebels’ current 12-game losing streak in conference play is a school record, besting the mark of eight straight set by the man he replaced, Ed Orgeron.

Additionally, Boone announced that he will step aside as athletic director within the next year.  Boone has come under increasing fire of late, with numerous individuals connected to the university seeking his ouster.

“When Coach Nutt arrived four years ago, I said publicly he would be the last coach I would hire. I meant it,” said Boone. “On several occasions over the past year, Chancellor Jones and I have discussed what would happen if a disappointing football season resulted in a coaching change, including whether a change would affect my timetable as athletics director.  When I decided we need new leadership in the football program, I knew it was also the right time for new leadership in the athletics department.”

“Pete Boone loves Ole Miss. I am grateful to Pete for his leadership of athletics, including his selfless decision to announce his plans for the future,” chancellor David Jones stated. “There will be other opportunities to acknowledge his contributions to the university, but I know we all recognize the significant progress in facilities we have made under his leadership and the vision he has provided for financing the next phase of facility improvement.”

It’s believed the buyout of Nutt’s contract is in the neighborhood of $6 million.  A five-member search committee has been formed to find Nutt’s replacement and will be co-chaired by Archie Manning and FedEx Executive Vice President Mike Glenn.

The committee, which will also head the search for Boone’s replacement, will make a recommendation to Jones, who will make the final decision.

In other words, the Rebels will likely hire a head coach before hiring his boss.  Yeah, that’ll work out well.

Report: North Texas adds FCS running back transfer

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North Texas is adding running back Loren Easly to the roster, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Saturday.

Easly spent the past two seasons at Stephen F. Austin, a member of the FCS Southland Conference. A Houston native, he appeared in 20 games over two seasons as a Lumberjack, carrying 213 times for 1,256 yards with 11 touchdowns while adding 17 catches for 139 yards.

Denton Record-Chronicle reporter Brett Vito confirmed the transfer on his Twitter account.

As an interdivisional transfer, Easly will be able to play immediately with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He would join a backfield led by rising senior Jeffrey Wilson, who paced the Mean Green with 936 yards and 14 touchdowns on 169 carries in 2016.

Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger signs extension, vows to fix football

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Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger has signed an extension to remain on the job through the 2020-21 academic year, the school announced Sunday.

Zenger has been on the job since 2011, meaning the new deal will take him past the decade mark in Lawrence.

“Since Sheahon’s arrival in Jan. 2011, Kansas Athletics has enjoyed success on and off the field,” Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement. “I am confident that under Sheahon’s leadership Athletics will experience even more success in the coming years.”

Zenger did not hire Bill Self, but he did hire Charlie Weis, which cost KU more than $5.6 million in buyout money after he was fired for going 6-22 leading the Jayhawks from 2012-14.

David Beaty was since hired to run the program, who has infused an outlook brighter than his 2-22 record would suggest.

Zenger said the new contract will allow him to fix football. Via the Kansas City Star:

Under Zenger’s watch, KU has most notably added numerous construction projects, including Rock Chalk Park and the DeBruce Center, which houses the original rules of basketball. He has spoken previously about completing those ventures to “clear the deck” financially so focus could be placed on football and Memorial Stadium renovations — two things he now says are “really the top priorities for me in the next four years.”

“We want it to be a place that people just love to come to,” Zenger said of Memorial Stadium. “We have such history there. I think it’s the greatest setting in the nation for college football. We just need to get it to the point where it’s a place that’s just revered.”

The extension includes a raise from a base salary of $619,000 to $700,000.

Alleged victim of Tennessee WR Josh Smith threatens $3 million civil suit

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Earlier this month, Tennessee wide receiver Josh Smith was charged with domestic assault following an incident at an off-campus house with his roommate. Now, the roommate is seeking damages of $875,000. If that sum is not paid, then the alleged victim may bring a $3 million civil suit to the court.

According to Jimmy Hyams of WNML, Kennedy Foster suffered a broken nose, broken teeth and damage to his eyes and right ear in the incident earlier this month that led to the charges filed against Smith. Foster sent a settlement demand letter to the attorney representing Smith.

“I’m not accusing him (Foster) of extortion, but that’s what it looks like,’’ Smith’s attorney, Keith Stewart said according to Hyams. “Given my understanding that Mr. Foster’s attempts to press charges against Malcolm Stokes were unsuccessful, it seems his motives are clear.’’

“I think when the truth comes out, Josh will be exonerated,” Stewart said of his client.

The deadline for paying the settlement demand is set for May 30 (tomorrow) by 5:00 p.m. and is to be delivered in the form of a cashier’s check along with a letter of apology for the incident. If the Smith family does not pay the requested sum, the legal team for Foster will move forward with a $1.5 million lawsuit seeking compensatory damages and a $1.5 million lawsuit for punitive damages. How either will hold up in court remains to be seen.

How some college football teams are recognizing Memorial Day on Twitter

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It’s not Memorial Day until the social media teams at college football programs start pumping out branded Memorial Day messages on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. As expected, teams and conferences are busy at pumping out the social media content for their followers today. Here is a sampling of what has been seen so far.

If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to read John’s annual Memorial Day post.