One of the most important reasons not to hire Coach Nutt if you are Memphis is because Coach Porter is still in the process of building a program. While the Tigers have struggled in Porter’s two year tenure, they are showing signs of improvement. Memphis has a lot of underclassmen contributing on this year’s team, and this year’s experience under Coach Porter’s guidance will prove invaluable and help the program out in the long run. He still has not gotten the depth necessary yet to compete at a top level, but he is only a few recruits away from making Memphis a threat.
2. Despite Coach Nutt’s success his conference record is not good.
Coach Nutt has an impressive resume, but he only has a 52-58 conference record spanning the last fourteen seasons with Arkansas and Ole Miss. Since he has been at Ole Miss his conference record is a pathetic 10-20. It certainly seems like teams that are familiar with Coach Nutt’s system have success against him, a fact that should concern every Tiger fan that wants Coach Nutt.
3. Houston Nutt may use Memphis as a stepping stone to get back to a major program.
Should Memphis hire Coach Nutt there is a possibility that Coach Nutt will leave as soon as a vacancy at a bigger program becomes available. He did it to Boise State in 1997 when he left the Broncos after only one season to go coach Arkansas. If you are curious about the damage a coach who leaves after one year can cause, look across the state to a Tennessee team that is still trying to rebuild after Lane Kiffin left to coach USC. Add to this issue the fact that the Tiger’s have recently been spurned by a certain basketball coach who left because of the money and prestige of another program and you have a leadership group who wants to make sure that does not happen again.
4. Coach Nutt is too expensive.
Houston Nutt is making almost 2.5 million dollars this season, while Larry Porter is only making about $316,500. When you compare their salaries, Houston Nutt is making almost eight times as much as Coach Porter, and thanks to Coach Nutt’s buyout clause Ole Miss has to pay him six million dollars next year to not coach. There is no way Memphis can afford to keep Nutt satisfied financially when bigger programs are always lurking and can shell out millions of dollars at a time for a coach.
5. Coach Porter is a better recruiter than Houston Nutt.
Let me remind everyone that Coach Porter is the 2007 and 2009 Rivals.com National Recruiter of the Year and he is bringing in talented players. Coach Porter only has one full recruiting class under his belt and he is getting talented players to commit to Memphis. On the other hand, Coach Nutt won early on at Ole Miss with Ed Orgeron’s players, but failed to bring in the talent necessary to continue to have success at Ole Miss.
1. Hiring Coach Nutt will bring some energy and enthusiasm to a dwindling fan base.
There is no doubt that the hiring of Coach Nutt will create a buzz that will permeate throughout the city. Season ticket sales will increase, people will begin to take Memphis football more seriously, and Tiger fans will have a reason to be excited about their football program. It will also change the fans perspective of the Memphis football program, because right now the perception of most fans is that Memphis does not care about its football program. Hiring Houston Nutt will show that Memphis is willing to pay top dollar for an elite coach.
2. Coach Nutt has an impressive resume.
Coach Nutt has a notable resume that includes 19 years of head coaching experience; fourteen of those years are in the SEC, which is one of the best conferences in the nation. He has three SEC West titles and he is a three time SEC Coach of the Year. Also, Houston Nutt’s overall record as a head coach at the FBS level is 104-77 and he has four bowl wins too.
3. Hiring Coach Nutt will make Memphis more appealing to major conferences.
With conference realignment taking place Memphis needs to do everything it can to make itself more appealing to major conferences. Hiring Coach Nutt will show the nation that Memphis is committed to their football program and willing to pay top dollar for an elite coach. Houston Nutt has extensive experience coaching in a major football conference, and he will add instant credibility to a program that is desperate for a spot in an AQ conference.
4. Houston Nutt is undefeated against C-USA teams since becoming a head coach at the FBS level.
Since becoming a head FBS coach in 1996 Houston Nutt has dominated C-USA teams. He is an impressive 7-0 against Conference USA foes, and Memphis needs somebody who will get them wins inside their conference. The last time Memphis had a winning record in conference was in 2008 when the Tigers went 4-4 in conference play. In fact, Memphis is a staggering 2-19 in conference since 2009, and the Tigers are in desperate need of somebody who can led them to more conference victories. With his undefeated record against C-USA opponents Houston Nutt can bring a swagger to the Memphis program and make them belive that they can win games against conference foes.
5. If you cannot bet him, join him.
Memphis knows first hand how good a football coach Houston Nutt is after taking some severe beatings from him in the past. No Memphis football team has ever defeated Coach Nutt since he became head coach of Arkansas or while he was at Ole Miss. Houston Nutt’s Rebel teams have all but eradicated the once intense rivalry between Memphis and Ole Miss. In the two contests since Houston Nutt became the Rebel’s head coach he has beaten Memphis by a combined score of 86-38.
CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from games.
Photos by JD Meredith and Joe Murphy.