Sources: Nutt to be named Southeast men's basketball coach

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Former Arkansas State University coach Dickey Nutt will take over the Southeast Missouri State men's basketball program.

Sources close to the situation said Wednesday that Nutt will be introduced as Southeast's new coach during today's scheduled 2 p.m. news conference at the Show Me Center.

Nutt, 49, spent 13 seasons as head coach at Arkansas State before resigning following a 9-17 record in 2007-2008. Nutt's future at the school had been in question after receiving a one-year contract in 2007.

Nutt, the brother of former Arkansas and current Mississippi football coach Houston Nutt, went 189-187 at ASU, including 102-101 in the Sun Belt Conference. He left ASU three victories short of the program's all-time wins record.

Nutt's best record at ASU was a 20-9 mark during his third year in 1997-1998. His only NCAA tournament appearance came the following season, when ASU finished 18-12.

Nutt, who was not involved in coaching this year, has remained in Jonesboro, Ark., since leaving ASU. He has been host of a local television show that covers high school basketball, and sources said he has canceled his appearance on this Sunday's broadcast.

There also was a report Wednesday that Sikeston boys basketball coach Gregg Holifield was offered an assistant coaching position under Nutt.

Holifield denied the report, saying Wednesday afternoon he hadn't heard who Southeast had hired.

Holifield said he did receive a text message from Nutt on Tuesday night after he had gone to bed and responded Wednesday morning, but neither message discussed the Southeast position. Nutt was among the candidates who had been in contact with Holifield in recent weeks leading up to this weekend, when Sikeston played in a Class 4 quarterfinal game and Nutt reportedly met with Southeast officials.

Holifield attended Arkansas State and was a baseball player there when Nutt began his career as an assistant.

"I hope people in Southeast Missouri are positive, because he would do a great job," Holifield said. "He had some good years at Arkansas State in that conference, and he did with local talent -- Dereke Tippler, Kewain Gant."

Holifield for the last four years has coached one of the area's top local talents in 6-foot-6 Michael Porter, an all-state selection each season since his freshman year. Porter, a Division I recruit with interest in Missouri Valley as well as OVC schools, had said Southeast's situation was "shaky" with its vacancy at head coach and an NCAA hearing scheduled for next month.

"Michael has been getting a lot of interest," Holifield said. "I wouldn't rule out SEMO."

Holifield, who has been head coach at Sikeston since the 1998-1999 season, led the Bulldogs to a Class 4 district title this year. One of the key players was his son, Will, a sophomore guard.

3-27 season

Southeast's new coach will take over a program coming off a turmoil-filled 3-27 season.

It started when coach Scott Edgar was placed on administrative leave Oct. 9 for alleged NCAA rules violations. Zac Roman, who worked as an assistant on Edgar's staff during the 2007-2008 season, was named acting coach Oct. 16.

The university announced it was buying out Edgar's contract Dec. 31. Edgar, who had a base salary of $125,000, had 2 1/2 years left on the five-year deal he signed in April 2006. The university terminated Edgar's contract without cause, meaning it paid him about $325,000.

The Redhawks experienced little success this season. They finished 0-18 in the Ohio Valley Conference and ended the year on a 19-game losing streak, the longest in the nation.

Southeast became just the seventh men's basketball team to go winless in the OVC.

Southeast has posted two winning seasons since the beginning of this decade -- 18-12 in 2000-2001 and 15-14 in 2004-2005. The program has a 93-163 record this decade and lost at least 20 games in each of the last four seasons.

Nutt was born in Arkansas but played college basketball at Oklahoma State and began his coaching career as an assistant at Stillwater High School before serving as an assistant at Oklahoma State from 1985 to 1987. Nutt was an assistant at Arkansas State from 1987 to 1995 before taking over as the head coach.

While his brother, Houston, is the noted football coach, another brother, Dennis, was the head coach at Southwest Texas State, now Texas State, for six seasons until 2006.


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