Tag:Jimmy Sexton
Posted on: September 20, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 4:00 pm

Ole Miss AD calls loss to Vandy 'unacceptable'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We wrote Saturday that after Ole Miss's inexplicable 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt, Houston Nutt had eclipsed Mark Richt as the SEC coach on the hottest seat in the league. Unfortunately for Nutt, the actions of Rebel athletic director Pete Boone since that defeat have done nothing to disprove that assumption.

Monday, Boone took the highly unusual step of speaking at Nutt's Monday press conference, preceding his coach's remarks with some 13 minutes of commentary on the Rebels' predicament. "[Nutt is] committed to correcting some of the issues that he sees are correctable and fixable within the program," Boone said. "And that's what his job is, and that's what he'll be doing."

"I appreciate Pete Boone meeting with the staff and myself, appreciate what he did the last 24 hours," Nutt said (not all that convincingly, in our opinion). "But now bottom line is that it's up to us as coaches, as players to do our jobs."

Boone's appearance at the press conference might be viewed as the dreaded "vote of confidence" that so often signals the beginning of the end for an embattled coach, but Nutt would no doubt take that over Boone's other action in those "24 hours": sending an open letter to Ole Miss fans that asked for support but also called the loss to Vanderbilt "unacceptable." Courtesy of the Clarion-Ledger, an excerpt:

The fullness of the Ole Miss football experience that you deserve and have generously invested in, has not lived up to expectations recently. Coach Nutt and I met today and discussed the current state of Ole Miss football. Both of us are extremely disappointed in our performance this year. We agreed that to be successful, this disappointment must be met head on with solutions for improvement. We discussed several areas that needed improvement and I support Coach Nutt in his effort to correct those areas.

As I have said, Saturday’s performance and our running two-season SEC record are unacceptable. Our commitment to compete at a championship level is as strong as ever and we will succeed!
Is there any doubt that "we discussed several areas that needed improvement" is administrator-speak for "I told him to quit embarrassing himself, or else"?

There's two things that might save Nutt's job even in the event the season continues to turn sour: that his back-to-back Cotton Bowl championships remain a nearly-unprecedented feat for the Rebels since the Archie Manning days, and that he has a substantial buyout (thanks to the ever-ingenious machinations of agent Jimmy Sexton) that the Rebels -- already in the midst of a sizable fund-raising campaign to upgrade both the basketball and football facilities -- may not be able to afford.

But it won't help Nutt that Boone may be under a little bit of pressure, too. Though likely only a vocal minority of Ole Miss fans, a group calling itself "Forward Rebels" took out ads in multiple newspapers (including, again, the Clarion-Ledger) after the Vandy debacle claiming that "the Ole Miss administration is the problem":

For a full-size version, click here, but know it's not Nutt the ad is referring to when it says "our leadership has failed us."

Again, that's not to say Boone is under that much heat at this time. But if his coach continues to struggle to the point that either Nutt goes or they both do, we suspect Boone will do his best to find the money for the buyout ... and that the pain of that search likely explains why he's making no secret of his desire to see Nutt turn things around as quickly as possible.

Ad image HT: Friends of the Program.

Posted on: November 29, 2010 10:52 am

Take Houston Nutt rumors with a beach of salt

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Wherever there are head coaching openings in college football and wild unsubstantiated rumors about who will fill them, there will always be one name whose presence in those rumors and frequency of being "connected" to those jobs rises above all others: Houston Nutt .

Ever since his move from Boise State to Arkansas in 1998, Nutt has been linked with every conceviable opening, from a laundry list of SEC gigs to the Dallas Cowboys head coach to President Obama's "health care czar." (Only made up that last one, by the way; rumor had it before the Wade Phillips hire that since Jerry Jones is an Arkansas alum and enjoyed Nutt's time in charge of the Razorbacks, he would turn his franchise over to a guy with no NFL experience whatsoever that most of the pro football media have never even heard of.)

The reason for this is simple, and bears the name Jimmy Sexton . The most influential agent in the SEC, bar-none, one of Sexton's favorite longtime ploys for leverage has been to float rumors in the press that his clients could leave for other destinations, then using the apparent "interest" to help wrangle his client a new contract extension. This is exactly what Sexton ought to be doing, since it's a strategy that works and works well; when Auburn was in the market for a new coach after Tommy Tuberville 's departure in 2008 (a Sexton client who himself had reportedly been interetsed in jobs at Texas A&M, Arkansas, Miami, etc. over they ears), reports flew fast and furious that Nutt was the Tigers' top choice, and within a handful of days the Rebels had given Nutt an extension and a raise despite the fact that there's little evidence Auburn ever considered Nutt at all.

So when you read the now widespread "report" that Nutt has already accepted the Colorado job , remember that no one is better at conjuring "Nutt to new position X" stories out of thin air than Sexton.  (Especially when no one with a shred of credibility is lending the rumor any legs , Nutt himself included.) Admittedly, quotes like this one ...
Nutt added the intrigue when he was asked after the game what sort of items he wants to address after the season. “There’s a few things,” he said. “I’m going to get into that Sunday. I just — I want to talk to my team first before they read it. I want them to hear it first.”
... don't exactly help the "nothing to see here" argument, but it seems substantially more likely that Nutt's referring to staffing changes (maybe the dismissal of under-fire defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix ?) than any kind of change in his own job status.

Besides, a quote like that ensures Nutt can stay in the headlines for another couple of news cycles. No doubt Sexton is smiling somewhere over that.


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