Coach Nutt

Something I’ve never understood since Houston was run out of town - There have been and continues to be references of how he did us wrong by jumping to Ole Miss and we’ve all seen the character assassination he’s taken over time. The hatred towards this man has been very uncharacteristic of Arkansas people and the Razorback family.

He made a couple of unwise decisions but don’t we all? By the time 2007 rolled around, Razorback Nation was so divided that there was a constant barrage of negativity towards him including the infamous flyovers during pregames and full page advertising in the Dem-Gazette demanding his removal. So when November was winding down after an 8 win season, he left. Plain and simple. Who among us would have done different? He had a family with children still in school, the Nutts felt unwanted and it was obviously time to leave. In the meantime, he’s 50 years old and had a chance to continue his career at another school and make a nice living. I would have done the same thing.

Back to the point, Houston was basically run out of town and had to leave the job he loved due to a group of people who were bound and determined for him to be fired or leave the program. He gave them what they wanted and folks continue to bash him as a traitor for going to Ole Miss. Doesn’t make sense to me.

I never regarded him as traitor and warned some OM friends what he would leave them with, which came true. I’m not going to rehash what many with inside knowledge like Dudley have put on this board. All agree there was plenty of blame but HDN had run his time. I had occasion to be around the athletics field during his playing days and he was less impressive than he thought himself to be. I thought I saw the same in his coaching and thought we could replace him and get better. You cannot be a traitor unless you were wanted and part of the nation. Today’s me too movement probably would have made him difficult to sell to the AR public. I wish both sides had behaved better and maybe some of our rough patches would have been shorter and less painful that followed his regime.

I’ll never forget an incident prior to the Ole Miss game in 2008, when Nutt brought them to Razorback Stadium. I was enjoying food and beverage in the parking lot north of the stadium when a TV reporter walked up to me and asked if she could ask me some questions. I said sure and she asked how I felt about Coach Nutt leaving Arkansas for Ole Miss. I said I had no problem with it and that he had done good things all those years at Arkansas, and I wished him well. She told the camera man to shut down and admitted to me she was having a hard time finding anyone that would say something negative. She actually admitted being frustrated by it and moved on…

I’ve always viewed him as more of an opportunist than a traitor. A good but not great football coach. A tireless self promoter.Slightly annoying, but not evil or even bad. A way overrated high school football player who probably rose up the coaching ranks a little faster than he should have. Good man, but far from perfect. Much like myself.

I don’t see many people being negative toward Houston Nutt just because he went to Ole Miss from Arkansas. Complaints usually center on what he did at Arkansas. Me, I’m tired of it all. Long gone.

I was glad to see Nutt go, but didn’t hate him…just like I’m ready for MA to go, and certainly don’t hate him - though for many, inexplicably, its impossible to not hate him if you don’t care for him as the coach. Back to Nutt, I hoped he would take the GA Tech job, which I believe he was offered. I thought it better for him his family and the Arkansas community to get him out of the SEC for awhile. Unfortunately, I think he took the Ole Miss job to some degree because he wanted a shot at coming back and “sticking it” to the state. I may be wrong about that, but his actions, and more particularly his brother’s - when he did return seemed to support that assertion.

I believe he took the Ole Miss job because it was more money. I do not think Georgia Tech offered as much and his agent pushed him to Ole Miss. That’s what agents do.

And, I think Houston thought that he could recruit Memphis and Eastern Arkansas from Ole Miss. That never really panned out. I believe he thought he would pick some stars from Arkansas because of what he thought were good relationships with some high school coaches who liked him over Gus and/or Petrino. Not sure that panned out, either. In fact, it did not.

I never understood why anyone would blame him for going to Ole Miss when he was no longer wanted at Arkansas. If you think he’s not good enough for your school, you should want him to be at a rival, so you would not have to face perhaps a better coach.

I do not think Houston understood recruiting at Ole Miss the way he did at Arkansas, as far as where he’d have to go to find players. Ultimately, he ran out of players. He recruited better at Arkansas than he did at Ole Miss. Recruiting pushes you up or sinks you – every time.

There are two sides to everything. And, as has been mentioned in this thread, everyone had blame, some more than others and no one came out of it unscathed. I am sure that Houston, his family and his coaches thought they were attacked – sometimes viciously – during their last months at Arkansas. And, perhaps they were. I guess it comes with the territory (the big bucks).

As Joe Kines once said, in the SEC, they will slit your throat and drink your blood, and I think that goes for your own fan base when it’s decided that you are no longer what is needed as coach. Danny Ford said in the SEC you are on the hot seat with a two-game losing streak. He said that would be a one-game losing streak at Alabama.

I do know that when Gus got to Arkansas there was wonderful talent at Arkansas. Whether or not Houston would have put McFadden at QB and run some direct snap plays or not is anyone’s guess. But he didn’t before Gus arrived. But I give Houston credit for recruiting Marcus Monk, Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis to play almost at the same exact time. Yes, Peyton was ahead of the other two, but that was a collection of great players. Convincing Monk that he could play football (and basketball) at Arkansas was a good recruiting pitch.

I’m always going to say that part of Houston’s downfall was allowing a cornerback (Chris Houston) to tackle below the knees in an August scrimmage. That’s when Monk was hurt. That team may not have lost a game with a healthy Marcus Monk and perhaps would have won a national championship.

That is a pretty good synopsis, Clay, on Houston Nutt. I wanted him gone, but never blamed him for going to Ole Miss…don’t know anybody that did. I was concerned he might do a good job at Ole Miss, but I don’t think his heart was really into that job. He was probably a little burned out when he got to Oxford. I don’t know that for a fact, but just about anybody in his position would have been.

Looking back on Houston’s tenure here…he was a pretty good coach and did a decent job. I think more of him as a coach today than I did then. It was time for him to leave when he did. The Malzahn deal just ushered him out the door a little quicker than he probably would have gone. I will always wonder what might have happened had Houston welcomed Gus and both those guys just recruited, got along and built that Malzahn offense. I tend to think Malzahn would have gotten a lot of credit, Gus would have taken a head job somewhere and Houston would have been here a few more years. We’ll never know.

You are gonna judge someone based off what their brother says/does? Does your brother speak for you?

It’s funny how when someone dies or leaves a situation they are automatically held in higher regard. I would have been fine with Nutt if he had let Malzahn install his offense and HDN would have just did his Rah Rah thing. But, he didn’t. His offense was the most predicable in the SEC. He inherited some good players when he came and had some success but at the end he ran the program into the ground. He did exactly the same thing at Ole Miss. He knew it was time for him to go and he pulled a fast one on Arkansas. He left with a $3 million golden handcuffs package (compliments of Frank) and the next day he announced that he was becoming the head coach at Ole Miss. Ole Miss finally paid him $6 million to take a hike. Arkansas can enshrine him but he will always occupy a special place as a royal pain in my butt. He will always occupy a place at the top of the pedestal as the most sleazy used car salesmen in Arkansas coaching history.

As a native Arkansas person who moved out of state in 1958 but has tried to follow the Hogs, let me say I was not there when many wanted a high school coach to take over but I do miss winning. I especially miss beating Alabama and playing in the conference championship game.

While, I got tired of his shtick from time to time, you say " at the end , he ran the program into the ground." I don’t understand. His next to last year, he took us to the sec championship game and if not for a failed punt return in our own end zone , we probably would have won. His last year he finished 8-4 and beat LSU, the eventual national champion , on their home turf. He was then fired as a thank you. I understand the politics of what happened then, but the on the field results are a not a program that was run in the ground. I would take 8-4 next year in a heart beat.

There are 2 people mentioned in this tread that I vowed to never speak their name again. One was a head coach, the other was a wide receiver. Both could be erased from Razorback history and I would not care.

It may sound ridiculous now, but Houston was let go because he failed to recruit as well as Danny Ford had recruited. Many folks felt he could have done more, in terms of recruiting, with the initial success he achieved using Ford’s players. He recruited some very good players, but not enough of them and not enough at key positions. Frank forced him to hire Malzahn which did lead to several good, at the time, recruits, but that all blew up and fell apart. With no significant improvement in sight, they bought out his contract. There was no “non-compete” in that contract so nothing prevented him from going to Ole Miss and doing it all over again, including being paid big bucks to leave. He did some good things while he was on The Hill, but not good enough to keep his job. After the last 7-8 years, the folks who published his cell phone records and paid to fly “fire Nutt” banners over his home field, don’t look so brilliant now. The lack of any interest in him for any P-5 coaching position pretty much testifies about the general national assessment of his coaching ability. JMVHO.

I remember sitting over here in Georgia and personally wanted them to hire Tubby but I was indeed surprised when they hired Houston even if he had done in my opinion a very good job at the two schools he worked for prior to the Hog job.
Then I remember being shocked when I looked up at Houstons Hogs were I think 7-0 and could not believe how good they were at that time. I do hope to see in my lifetime some 7 or 8 game winning seasons or better but it is not going to happen overnight. I would suggest to you guys still in my home state to stop fighting each other and get together in support of our team.

It is sad he isn’t held in higher regard by Hog fans (although that is gradually changing).

Obviously, he was a fine coach. Look at UA’s SEC Record before and after HDN and compare it with his record.

His only bad years were when we were on NCAA Probation (for actions that did not happen under his watch).

Its humorous when people say we should have hired Tubby. HDN has a winning record over Tubby.

It is also funny when they say he only won with Ford’s players as if Ford recruited for him for 10 years.

Aubie, Bama, and LSU were all down (overall) when CHN was coaching at Arkansas.

I viewed him as a gifted “project” coach who never reach his full potential because he failed to develop some critcal program skills

Loads of ability but never developed beyond his Murry St KY days where in that division head coaches are the OC or DC

HDN was an exceptional motivator but never learned how to manage a large program

Never developed a QB

Never learned how to evaluate talent in a recuiting plan

This led to the SEC “HDN recuiting rule” against HDN notorious gray shirting - where kids where recruited and promised and than short changed once they arrived on campus

Sadly if the player complained HDN embarrassingly calling the Player selfish - for wanting the scholarship promised

Further examples are his poor recruitment leading to A thin bench requiring even filling holes with dorm and frat campus teams personnel

His inability to develop an offensive coordinator who had the latitude to develop systems beyond one or two key offensive players is legend - from “quick trigger” pulling QB’s to telegraphing repeative failed plays

That said his ability to motivate his people on game day was superlative

His ability to devise an offensive play on the fly (esply in OT situations where the game plan is already shot) was also superlative

Real mixed bag with HDN - real great victories in games he shouldn’t win and than head scratching losses to over matched teams that were hard to explain

With HDN it was high peaks and very low valleys

All his supervisory weakness led to situations where in 2006 with a team loaded with NFL talent he made decisions that left fans angry

However I’m grateful for the great Victories and remain frustrated by the failures

Long time ago … but a look at the Razorback record book reveals the following:

He took a program that was struggling against SMU and Memphis and made it a program that broke even with Alabama and struggled with Tennessee.

He took a program that was NOT going to bowls and made it a program that struggled in bowls.

He was 2-1 against Texas.

Given the last six years, who among us would not retroactively welcome those results.

He is gone, retired and content. Yes, I remember the best more than the worst but I must admit I think well of his tenure.

It is much more complicated than just saying he didn’t recruit as well. He did initially.

Then, the nightmare of all of nightmares happened, a rare probation period and NCAA investigation, over the Ted Harrod scandal.

For several years, Frank wanted to fight it. And, it took its toll. Frank had never had one NCAA issue of consequence and didn’t want to buy that this had indeed happened, and by one of his closest friends.

It all drug down football. Recruiting suffered, as it always does in an NCAA investigation.

Frank survived it, barely. And, those that helped protect him are the very ones who asked that Gus be considered, then demanded finally that he be hired. Frank did it. Almost immediately he regretted it because he saw that it put the staff in turmoil. All of that eventually got both Houston and Frank. It took longer for it to happen to Frank, but it was the root of the issue.

I can recall Rockey Felker telling me in the mid 90s that you could in fact recruit well at Arkansas, but it was a fragile situation because there just were not enough numbers inside the state to match Georiga, Florida, Alabama and Auburn as far as access to top SEC talent. You’d have to go outside the state. He said things had to stay calm and perfect in football to survive that issue of lack of in-state title. A blip so to speak and boom, you could hit a couple of bad years of recruiting. He said it might be a coaching change, or in fact, it could be something like an NCAA investigation. Bingo, he nailed it and that’s how things began to come tumbling down for Houston. Who you blame for all of that, I’m not sure.

But it was a very complicated, yet delicate issue. Again, what happened with Petrino is the same type of blip that Rockey described. Maybe a bigger blip. Maybe in the case of the bigger blip, you fault Jeff Long along with Petrino, then you fault Bret Bielema, a good hire on the surface, but a failure nonetheless.