Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt, it was learned by The Ole Miss Spirit early Wednesday morning, reached into his bag of tricks, and somewhat "outside the box," in offering Saskatchewan Roughrider head Coach Kent Austin the vacant offensive coordinator post.
Austin, we were also told, accepted the job late Tuesday night. The announcement should be official no later than Thursday and possibly as early as today.
Kent, 44, is a former Rebel quarterback who also starred professionally in the CFL. He led Saskatchewan to the Grey Cup championship as a player in 1989 and then, in 2007, in his first year as the head coach, duplicated that feat as the Roughriders won their first CFL title since Austin was the QB.
The Roughriders have been named the sports story of the year in Canada, a country known for its hockey fanaticism.
Austin, who is known for an innovative offensive mind, was one of seven candidates who Nutt interviewed for the job.
The CFL is known for wide open offense, but Saskatchewan was also near the top of the league statistically in running the football, which was a Nutt requirement of any OC.
Austin, who is from Nashville, TN, was a record-setting QB for the Rebels in the early 1980s. After a brief stint in the NFL, he went North and found stardom in the CFL, pasing for over 36,000 yards in a long, successful career.
Saskatchewan General Manager Eric Tillman, ironically an Ole Miss grad, got the Roughrider top job last year and immediately hired Austin, who had been an OC in the league since retirement from his playing days.
The rest, as they say, is history, as Saskatchewan won the title in Austin and Tillman's first campaign.
The OC opening at Ole Miss came unexpectedly last Sunday when Arkansas OC David Lee, who was supposed to join Nutt's staff in Oxford, opted to go to the Miami Dolphins of the NFL.
Nutt interviewed Austin, former Reb WR Coach Hugh Freeze and veteran offensive coach Sparky Woods on campus, and several others via the phone before offering the job to Austin.
Austin accepted late last night, inside sources said.
Through the whole process, Austin and Freeze were the "fan favorite" choices. Both are proponents of a strong rushing game with spread offense principles.
Austin to be named OC
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