OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -Five weeks after handing Mississippi an embarrassing loss, Houston Nutt returned to this oak-studded campus Wednesday as the Rebels' new coach.
Nutt was introduced to hundreds of cheering fans during a news conference, less than 48 hours after resigning at Arkansas and the day after Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone announced he'd hired Nutt to resurrect a football program that has lost its way.
``The one thing I love about Ole Miss is the tradition,'' Nutt said, mentioning some previous players, including Archie Manning.
Nutt replaces Ed Orgeron, who was fired Saturday after the Rebels finished 3-9. The team went winless in the Southeastern Conference for the first time since 1982, including a 44-8 loss to Nutt's Razorbacks.
While Orgeron increased the talent level, he never fielded a winner in three tumultuous years and finished 10-25.
Boone believes Nutt is the proven winner he was asked to produce when he started his three-day search.
Nutt agreed to a four-year, $7.4 million contract with options for three more years totaling $6.6 million. He appears to have the credentials required to turn around a program that hasn't been much of a force in the Southeastern Conference since the 1960s.
Officials at Arkansas said they offered Nutt a one-year extension and an unspecified raise, but he turned them down to move to Oxford, taking the job less than four hours after resigning.
Nutt led Arkansas to an 8-4 record and a likely Cotton Bowl berth before resigning. The 50-year-old is 111-70 in 15 years as a head coach at Arkansas, Boise State and Murray State, and he's been a winner in the SEC. The 2006 conference coach of the year led the Razorbacks to three SEC West titles, though no championships.
The Little Rock, Ark., native revived the Arkansas program, going 75-48 since he replaced Danny Ford in 1997. Nutt was 42-38 in conference with one of his biggest wins coming last week when the Razorbacks beat then-No. 1 LSU 50-48 in triple overtime.
Nutt said he wants to make Ole Miss the SEC champions.
``The way you spell fun is W-I-N,'' Nutt said.
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