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.