Ole Miss

Ole Miss apologizes to former football coach Houston Nutt in lawsuit agreement

Former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt and the school have reached an agreement in his lawsuit against the school.
Former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt and the school have reached an agreement in his lawsuit against the school. AP

Ole Miss and Houston Nutt released a joint statement Monday evening after reaching an agreement in the former football coach’s lawsuit against the school.

“The lawyers who represent the University and Coach Nutt have communicated during the past few weeks to reach an agreement that would allow the parties to resolve Coach Nutt’s claim while avoiding the costs and distractions associated with further litigation,” the joint statement said. “The parties have reached such an agreement.”

The school apologized in its portion of the release: “Certain statements made by University employees in January 2016 appear to have contributed to misleading media reports about Coach Nutt. To the extent any such statements harmed Coach Nutt’s reputation, the University apologizes, as this was not the intent. The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations dated January 22, 2016, did not name or implicate Coach Nutt in any misconduct, and it would have been inappropriate for any University employee to suggest otherwise.”

Nutt simply said he was glad the lawsuit is over.

“Best wishes to the future of the Ole Miss football program,” he said.

Nutt sued the school, its athletic foundation and the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees after alleging former coach Hugh Freeze and other school officials conducted a misinformation campaign against him after it received the NCAA’s NOA.

Nutt had refiled his 46-page complaint in Lafayette County last Wednesday; the original lawsuit was filed in federal court July 12 but dismissed Aug. 9.

In a statement to USA Today’s Dan Wolken, Thomas Mars, Nutt’s attorney, confirmed the agreement.

“We won’t be taking any questions or making any comments about the settlement or the press release — on or off the record,” he said.

Nutt has been out of coaching since 2011 when he finished a four-year stint in Oxford with a 24-26 overall mark. The long-time Arkansas coach got off to a hot start with the Rebels, leading the team to consecutive Cotton Bowl wins in 2008 and 2009, but his teams posted 4-8 and 2-10 records in his final two seasons.

In 19 seasons with Murray State, Boise State, Arkansas and Ole Miss, Nutt was 135-96. He’s currently a TV analyst for CBS Sports Network.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs