Despite reports that Ole Miss football coach Houston Nutt has expressed interest in the head coaching vacancy at Kansas University, an official from the school said Monday evening that Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone hadn’t been contacted by KU officials.
In an e-mail to the Journal-World, the official said that Boone has had “no contact from Kansas,” while Boone told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal there was “nothing to” reports to the contrary.
Nutt, who is in his second season at Ole Miss after 10 years as the head coach at Arkansas, signed a contract extension last year that will pay him roughly $2.5 million through 2012.
Calls to Nutt’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, were not immediately returned, though Sexton told the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger on Monday he hadn’t spoken with anyone from Kansas. He added that he was not aware of Nutt speaking with KU officials.
Nutt, 52, has enjoyed much success during his time in the SEC, compiling a 92-56 record in 12 seasons at Arkansas and Ole Miss. Since 2000, meanwhile, he has been named the SEC coach of the year three times — in 2001, 2006 and 2008 — and is preparing the Rebels for their second straight Cotton Bowl, where they’ll take on Oklahoma State on Jan. 2 in Dallas.
He has also occasionally been at the center of controversy.
Nutt left Arkansas following a 2007 season in which athletic director and noted supporter Frank Broyles resigned and one group of fans reportedly took out a $5,000 ad in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette demanding Nutt step down.
He also drew the ire of some following his first season in Oxford, when he reportedly expressed interest in at least one other head coaching job.
Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins, who has moved swiftly in his efforts to replace the resigned Mark Mangino, is scheduled to accompany KU quarterback Todd Reesing to the National Football Foundation Awards Dinner tonight at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
Buffalo athletic director Warde Manuel, meanwhile, confirmed through a school official this week that Perkins had contacted the school seeking permission to speak with coach Turner Gill, and indicated that the request was granted.
As of Monday morning, Buffalo officials were unsure whether a meeting between Perkins and Gill had taken place, though the Buffalo News cited a source that said a meeting was held Sunday in New York City.
Both Gill and Nutt, meanwhile, have ties to KU and the Big 12 Conference.
Gill’s daughter, Jordan, is a sophomore at KU, and Nutt, an Oklahoma State alum, is a longtime friend of Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self, who played basketball at OSU in the mid-1980s. Both, too, played quarterback in the Big 12 — Gill at Nebraska, Nutt at Oklahoma State.
Where the two differ, however, is experience.
Nutt has established himself as a consistent winner in a powerhouse conference, going 51-45 in the SEC and leading his teams to bowl games in 10 of the past 12 seasons, while the 47-year-old Gill — with a 20-30 record in just four seasons as a head coach — is a bit of an unproven commodity.