Danny Nutt Resigns
Danny Nutt, Houston's younger brother, stepped down as Arkansas' running backs on Tuesday because of a recurring brain condition that has caused constant headaches and made even simple tasks hard to do.
Danny Nutt, 46, had hoped to make it through one more season so he could coach perhaps the nation's best backfield in Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden and fellow junior Felix Jones.
But with the possibility of surgery looming because of bleeding in his brain, Danny Nutt came to the realization earlier this week that he could no longer serve on his brother's coaching staff.
"He said, 'This is the best backfield I've ever had.' He wanted to get to this season," Houston Nutt said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon in the team meeting room.
"But he knew this day was coming. We didn't expect it (so soon), but he's very thankful for the days that he did have. He's had a great career."
With Arkansas set to start fall practices Aug. 4, Houston Nutt said he hoped to hire a new running backs coach in the next two days.
He said he doesn't want to move any of his current assistants into the position, and instead plans to do a quick national search to find Danny Nutt's replacement.
Danny Nutt's resignation didn't come as a total surprise. His health had been deteriorating over the past month, to the point where he couldn't drive and simply walking to his car took effort.
Danny Nutt is currently receiving medical treatment, and he's expected to decide Thursday after meeting with doctors in Little Rock whether to have surgery to stop the bleeding in his brain.
This is the same condition that caused him to undergo brain surgery only a few days before Arkansas' 45-31 loss to Michigan in the 1999 Citrus Bowl. The problem reoccurred in 2000, causing the coach to miss spring practices.
"It's real sad news. To me, he was like one of those coaches that was a father figure to me because we have a close relationship," McFadden said Tuesday afternoon.
"So it's just going to be a real disappointment not having him out there on the field. But we're going to dedicate this season to him, and the running backs are going to do the best we can to live up for him."
Danny Nutt is a former Arkansas quarterback who began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Razorbacks in 1986. He had been his brother's running backs coach for the past 13 years, spanning their stints at Murray State, Boise State and Arkansas.
Known as a players' coach, Danny Nutt helped recruit some of the school's top running backs, including McFadden and fullback Peyton Hillis. He stressed protecting the football, and it was his idea to have McFadden line up at quarterback in the Wildcat formation last season.
"We didn't think (he was going to leave) like this. We thought he was going to be here until we left," Felix Jones said. "We were just here to have fun with him, and it was sad to hear the news."
Danny Nutt had been under fire over the past few months, as questions arose as to whether he knew in an advance about a disparaging e-mail sent by a close friend to former Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain.
Teresa Prewett, the e-mail's author, was the physical therapist who helped him rehabilitate after his first medical scare in 1998. He didn't return several calls to his cell phone Monday.
Houston Nutt said he's already spoken with athletic director Frank Broyles and UA Chancellor John White about the possibility of keeping Danny Nutt still involved in the football program.
"It's real easy to be overshadowed when your brother's the head coach and you have the same last name. You're not going to get the credit," Houston Nutt said. "But he's been an outstanding soldier that has rolled up his sleeves and gone to work."
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