Arkansas chancellor supports Nutt
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The tumult around the Arkansas football program has drawn the attention of the university's chancellor, who said Thursday he believes coach Houston Nutt should continue to lead the program.
Chancellor John A. White said it was unfortunate the Razorbacks football team "has been burdened by rampant speculation and sensationalist remarks" after its offensive coordinator quit and two star players asked for and received permission to transfer.
White's remarks came less than a week after longtime coach and athletic director Frank Broyles announced he would retire at the end of the year. Broyles recommended, and White agreed, that Nutt's contract should be extended through 2012.
In the past week, Nutt has called two radio talk shows to defend his leadership of the program amid criticism from fans and sports writers. On a show Wednesday, Nutt said he remained upbeat despite the tumult.
Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, hired from Springdale High School in 2005, quit last month to become assistant head coach at Tulsa. Two of his prep players, Parade magazine player of the year Mitch Mustain and receiver Damian Williams, received releases from their Arkansas scholarships.
A university statement said White intended to support Nutt while "rebuffing ongoing speculation and commentary."
"It's unfortunate that the days and weeks following a remarkable football season, which featured 10 straight wins and an SEC West championship, has been burdened by rampant speculation and sensationalist remarks over the future of the program," White said.
The chancellor said he was confident in Nutt's leadership.
Arkansas went 10-4 last season but lost three straight to finish the season.
The parents of three Springdale players met with Broyles to raise concerns about Nutt's program and some fans said they wanted to see more of the no-huddle offense Malzahn ran in his high school days. Nutt said Wednesday that Malzahn had a role in deciding not to run the no-huddle offense.
Nutt has said he told Malzahn to get the ball to running back Darren McFadden, last year's Heisman Trophy runner-up.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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