Nutt says he's happy at Arkansas

Updated: December 30, 2004, 2:08 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- This time, Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt ended any uncertainty quickly.

After LSU athletic director Skip Bertman was granted permission on Tuesday to speak with Nutt about the Tiger coaching vacancy, Nutt said, he spoke briefly with officials of the Baton Rouge, La., school. Then, on Wednesday, he issued a statement saying he had removed his name from consideration, but was flattered to have been considered.

"At this time, I am very happy at the University of Arkansas. I plan on being the coach here for a very long time," he said.

At close of 2003 season, Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles gave Nebraska officials permission on Dec. 31 to talk to Nutt about leading the Cornhuskers. Not until three days later, on Jan. 3 -- after a visit to Fayetteville by the Nebraska athletic director, and negotiations that resulted in a new contract for Nutt at Arkansas -- did Nutt publicly announce he was staying with the Razorbacks.

LSU is seeking to replace five-year coach Nick Saban, who accepted a job as coach of the NFL's Miami Dolphins on Saturday. Nutt said Tuesday that he would not go through a lengthy selection process.

Broyles was in Augusta, Ga., on Wednesday and could not be reached for comment about Nutt's announcement.

LSU has also contacted Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino, who met with the school's representatives about the Tigers' job on Sunday but declined to say if he expected further talks, saying he was focusing on the No. 7 Cardinals' Liberty Bowl game against No. 10 Boise State on Friday.

LSU associate head coach Bobby Williams also interviewed for two hours with athletic director Skip Bertman, ESPN.com's Pat Forde reports.

Auburn's Tommy Tuberville, the AP Coach of the Year, was rumored to be a candidate at LSU but has said he is not interested in the job. LSU has declined to comment on speculation about what coaches it hopes to talk to, but several other coaches are believed to be on the school's list of prospects.

Arkansas went 5-6 this season with a team ravaged by graduations and defections by talented juniors who sought their fortune in the pros. It was the first time in seven seasons the Razorbacks did not qualify for a bowl under Nutt.

In 2003, Nutt led Arkansas to a 9-4 record and a 27-4 Independence Bowl win over Missouri. After rejecting what he said was a $2 million offer by Nebraska, he negotiated a new contract with Broyles that increased his yearly salary from $800,000 to $1.5 million.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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