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Nutt to leave Ole Miss after season

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Mississippi football coach Houston Nutt speaks in Oxford, Miss., on Monday. Mississippi athletic director Pete Boone announced earlier in the day that Nutt will not return as coach following the season.

Oxford Eagle/Bruce Newman Enlarge

OXFORD, Miss. — Houston Nutt came to Mississippi with the goal of becoming the first coach to lead the Rebels to the Southeastern Conference championship game.

It didn’t happen, far from it. Over the past year, the Rebels couldn’t win a single SEC game.

“The thing about the SEC that I know,” Nutt said. “They pay you to win.”

By that standard, he didn’t earn his salary over the last two seasons. That’s why Nutt said Monday he wasn’t surprised he was asked to resign at the end of the season.

The Rebels have lost 12 consecutive Southeastern Conference games, including Saturday’s 30-13 loss to Kentucky. Mississippi is 2-7 this year, 0-6 in the SEC. Nutt is 24-23 in his four years in Oxford.

He’ll stay to lead the Rebels for the season’s final three games, beginning with a home contest against Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

Mississippi athletic director Pete Boone announced the move during a press conference with members of a somber coaching staff filling the back of the room.

Boone also said he will step down as AD by the end of 2012.

“I wanted to be the first coach to take them to Atlanta. One of the best venues out there,” Nutt said. “We fell short of that goal. But I think we’ve made significant progress.

“I believe our program is in better shape than it was when I arrived.”

Nutt is making approximately $2.7 million this season. Boone said the coach has a $6 million buyout clause in his contract. However, if no one on Nutt’s staff is retained by the next coach, the total buyout will be about $8 million.

Boone said he didn’t make an emotional decision about Nutt’s future, but instead weighed the decline of the program during the last two seasons, which have produced a combined 6-15 record.

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