Nutt Not Looking For More Money

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Board of Trustees member Jim Lindsey was an important part of coach Houston Nutt's negotiations with Nebraska last winter.

The former Arkansas player worked closely with Nutt and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, to pull together enough funds to keep the coach in Fayetteville. Through Lindsey's efforts, Nutt turned down a lucrative offer by the Cornhuskers and agreed to a pay raise and contract extension to stay on the sideline at Arkansas.

But Lindsey, who was not involved in any talks this winter, said Nutt's recent interest in LSU had nothing to do with money.

"Houston was not looking for anything," said Lindsey, who spoke with Nutt on Wednesday. "He was not seeking any financial gain and he wasn't trying to use (LSU) as a ploy to get anything.

"I think it's a rare and special person that can deal with these kind of things. He did have those two choices at that level of competition and that level of quality of programs, both of them representing more money, and he stayed here."

Nutt's flirtation with the LSU job, which was vacated after Nick Saban was named Miami Dolphins head coach last Saturday, remained a hot topic a day after he withdrew his name from consideration. Nutt was one of three coaches -- joining Louisville's Bobby Petrino and Oklahoma State's Les Miles -- that had been contacted by LSU athletic director Skip Bertman this week.

Nutt told Bertman earlier in the week he wouldn't be a candidate in any interview process, but left open the possibility of discussing the position if he was LSU's top choice. Nutt said he never received a job offer from the Tigers and announced his decision to withdraw his name from consideration Wednesday afternoon.

"(Nutt) was pursued hard by Nebraska and he was sought after on the LSU job," Lindsey said. "That has to be two of the top five jobs maybe in America ... and he's still here. To me, that's a tribute to his loyalty and a tribute to his commitment to the University of Arkansas."

Nutt declined to comment on the situation when contacted Thursday.

But Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles said Wednesday that Nutt's decision to ponder the LSU job didn't sit well with several Razorbacks supporters. In fact, Broyles estimated that "25 to 30 percent" of the Arkansas fan base would be mad at Nutt after his dealings with both Nebraska and LSU in the past year.

"I wouldn't say that (Broyles) was mad or upset because he knows -- and he has said specifically -- that he thinks Houston is the man for the job and that he can go far without any problem," Lindsey said.

Razorback Foundation president Chuck Dicus said he wasn't shocked to hear about Nutt being linked to the LSU job because "he's been around the game for quite a long time and I don't usually get surprised at anything anymore."

Dicus said the Razorback Foundation, which is the independent, fund-raising arm of the university, hadn't felt any fallout from the LSU situation as of Thursday.

"If there are people upset about it, I'm sure that at some point I will hear something about it," Dicus said. "But at this point, I can't say that I have.

"It doesn't matter what the person does, someone is always going to be upset about it. The question in this case is to what extent. I think it's just way premature to try to judge something like that."

Arkansas players said Wednesday that they saw LSU and Nebraska's interest in Nutt as a reminder that they're playing for a great coach.

Lindsey echoed the sentiment, believing most angry fans will feel the same once the dust settles.

"Coach Broyles has come here and he said that he was never even going to try to find another job and he's kept that word for 46 years," Lindsey said. "There is a tremendous support base and strength that is built around that concept.

"In all these instances that schools have shown interest in Nutt while we've been honored to have him as our coach, he has chosen to stay with us and I don't think we should be mad at him.

"I think that he should be rewarded for his loyalty with our loyalty back to him."

Dicus said any ill feelings that arose because of LSU "will probably work itself out" down the road. Dicus was glad that Nutt still is at Arkansas and added the only thing he can do is move forward and focus on this year's recruiting class.

Arkansas coaches said they're ready to field any questions from recruits and parents as they head out on in-home visits and host official visits next month. Recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn and cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen said the LSU inquiry will give Arkansas' recruiting efforts a boost, much like it did a year ago when Nutt turned down the offer from Nebraska.

"You look at two prominent programs that inquired about him, that says a lot," Vaughn said. "There aren't many programs that are as high profile as those two and he decided to stay at Arkansas. To me, that's a positive if you're a recruit.

"Obviously, Arkansas is a pretty special place for him to stay."

Staff writer Robbie Neiswanger contributed to this report.

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