Nutt hired at Southeast Missouri St.

Updated: March 12, 2009, 6:16 PM ET
Associated Press

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- Dickey Nutt was hired as Southeast Missouri State's basketball coach Thursday, leaving Arkansas State for a school that went 3-27 and faces possible NCAA sanctions.

Nutt is the brother of Mississippi football coach Houston Nutt. He replaces Zac Roman, who had been the acting coach since Scott Edgar went on leave in the fall. Edgar was fired in December.

Nutt spent 13 seasons at Arkansas State, where he was 189-186. He led the Red Wolves to their only NCAA tournament appearance in 1999. He resigned after going 9-17 in 2007-08. He did not coach this past season.

Southeast Missouri was winless in the Ohio Valley Conference and lost its final 19 games, the longest losing streak in NCAA Division I. The school has had just two winning seasons this decade.

"First and foremost I am impressed with the way that community gets behind their basketball," Nutt said at a news conference. "I've seen how Southeast Missouri travels and the hundreds of fans following them. We want to get back to that. I hope to ignite that fan base, and in order to do that, we have to put a quality team on the floor."

Athletic director John Shafer was hired in December, and picking a new coach was his first major task. He said he sought someone "who could coach and win, someone with integrity and character, a person who was tireless in their work ethic and would be a good fit" for the school and community.

The 49-year-old Nutt played at Oklahoma State (1977-81) and began his college coaching career there as an assistant. He was an assistant at Arkansas State (1987-95) before becoming head coach.

This has been a difficult period for Southeast Missouri State sports. Last year, the women's basketball team forfeited 44 victories and the women's and men's programs were placed on two years' probation for NCAA violations.

In October, the university fired athletic director Don Kaverman and put Edgar on administrative leave after learning the NCAA was investigating potentially major violations. Edgar was 23-39 in his first two seasons. The university bought out the rest of his five-year contract.

The NCAA is expected to take up the case against Southeast Missouri State at an April meeting. Edgar has denied any intentional violation of NCAA rules.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press