Nutt Says White And Broyles Want Him To Stay

FAYETTEVILLE — Houston Nutt's future remains uncertain, but the Arkansas coach said he hopes to have it resolved by no later than Tuesday.

Two days after pulling out the biggest win of his career, Nutt met with a room full of reporters to discuss a wide range of topics, though the conversation eventually turned to his job status.

Nutt said Sunday that he has spoken with Arkansas Chancellor John White on the phone and in-person on several occasions. And the indication that Nutt has received from White and retiring athletic director Frank Broyles is that they want him to continue coaching the Razorbacks.

"We had some little prelim discussions. We've got some more coming this week, and we'll wait 'til that time and let's see what comes out of it," Nutt said during his usual Sunday afternoon news conference.

"But again, right now, I'm excited about Chancellor White and Coach Broyles, they want me here. They want me to stay, and that's a good feeling and I'm excited about that."

But that doesn't necessarily mean Nutt will be back in 2008, even in the wake of last Friday's 50-48 triple-overtime win at then-No. 1 LSU.

A large and vocal segment of Arkansas' fan base has been calling for Nutt to be fired for the past year. And the situation hasn't been calmed by a late surge by the Razorbacks to finish the regular season with an 8-4 record and bowl berth secured.

Nutt said he expects to meet Tuesday or Wednesday with Jeff Long, who will take over as Arkansas' athletic director when Broyles retires at the end of the year.

As standard practice, Nutt has met with Broyles after each season to evaluate the direction of the football program. Nutt is expected to have a similar meeting with Long this week, and that's when Nutt indicated that formal discussions about his future will heat up.

"There is a lot of good, good things when you look close," Nutt said. "But we will have to see what's best, what is best and this week we'll see."

Nutt wouldn't elaborate on what was discussed during his conversations with White.

Sources familiar with the situation have said that White doesn't want to fire Nutt, and that it could be Nutt's decision on whether he coaches the Razorbacks next season.

Nutt has been mentioned as a potential candidate for several head coaching jobs at other schools. Ole Miss and Baylor are among the schools that could pursue him for their coaching vacancies.

Jimmy Sexton, Nutt's agent, refused to comment when reached Sunday afternoon on whether any other schools have contacted him about Nutt.

Sexton also didn't want to elaborate on the nature of Nutt's talks with White, whether it was to discuss a contract extension or a possible buyout.

"I'm not really at liberty to say right now what those talks are about," Sexton said.

Nutt turned down Nebraska after the 2003 season when the school sent a plane to Fayetteville to pick him up.

Nutt was vague when asked Sunday whether he was interested in any other job, perhaps Ole Miss, which would allow him to remain in the Southeastern Conference.

"Right now, this is the time of year. There is seven, eight jobs (open) right now. There is going to be more," Nutt said. "There is not just one thing on my mind (like) that's the one.

"I hadn't thought about things like that right now."

Nutt received a one-year contract extension last December that increased his annual compensation to $1.2 million. The deal also extended his contract through Dec. 31, 2012.

According to his contract, Nutt would have to give Arkansas seven days notice before accepting another coaching job. He would also have to pay the university $500,000.

He would stand to lose more than $2 million in deferred compensation and a bonus if he resigns from Arkansas.

Nutt again stated Sunday that being the head coach of the Razorbacks was his "dream job." He also took the unusual step of offering an apology to any Arkansas fans whom he might have made mad.

"If I walk by one fan, or I didn't speak to somebody, if I made somebody mad in that way, boy, I apologize," Nutt said. "All I've ever wanted to do was do the right thing, do it the proper way and be the head coach and the ambassador for Arkansas."

Alex's AP Ballott

1. Missouri

2. West Virginia

3. Ohio State

4. Georgia

5. Virginia Tech

6. Southern Cal

7. LSU

8. Hawaii

9. Kansas

10. Oklahoma

11. Florida

12. Boston College

13. Tennessee

14. Illinois

15. Arizona State

16. Wisconsin

17. Texas

18. BYU

19. Oregon

20. Cincinnati

21. Clemson

22. Auburn

23. Arkansas

24. Virginia

25. Boise State

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