JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -Houston Nutt and Mississippi agreed to a contract extension Friday that will keep the football coach in Oxford following a report he was a target for the Auburn opening.
Nutt and athletic director Pete Boone negotiated the deal and all that remained was for the coach to sign it, a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. The person asked not to be identified because an announcement hasn't been made.
Nutt signed a four-year, $7.4 million contract when he took over at Ole Miss last season after resigning at Arkansas. He made $1.7 million this season and the Rebels went 8-4.
The extension is for one year through 2012, pushing the deal to the maximum four years allowed under state law. While the total value of the deal remains unknown, it is by far the richest for an Ole Miss coach.
ults Nutt into the middle of the pack among Southeastern Conference coaches. Alabama's Nick Saban is college football's highest-paid coach at $4 million a year.
The Birmingham News reported Friday that Auburn was looking at Nutt to replace Tommy Tuberville, who resigned Wednesday.
Nutt told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson that neither he nor his agent, Jimmy Sexton, has had contact with Auburn officials. The Birmingham News report was based on unidentified sources.
Nutt was expected to meet with reporters after practice Friday.
It's unclear whether the extension was in the works before the Auburn job came open, but Nutt likely earned it after a stellar first season in Oxford.
The Rebels finished second in the SEC Western Division after winning just 13 games in their previous four seasons. The team finished on a four-game winning streak and likely will accept a Cotton Bowl berth in the next few days.
Each of Ole Miss' losses came by a touchdown or less and a total of 19 points. The Rebels knocked off then-No. 4 Florida this season and thumped their archrival Mississippi State 45-0 for their most lopsided win in the long-running series since 1971. Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom resigned a day later.
ning in 2003.
He has received rave reviews from players and Boone told The Associated Press last month that Nutt has done the job he'd hoped for when he snatched up the coach just days after he resigned at Arkansas, where he spent 10 seasons.
``He is performing exactly like I thought he would and not necessarily wins and losses,'' Boone said. ``I'm talking about the attitude he's brought to the team, which is so critical. We sometimes forget we're here for the student-athletes.''
The contract extension may have kept history from repeating itself for the Rebels. Tuberville coached Ole Miss for four seasons before moving to Auburn in 1998. He famously told reporters he had no intention of leaving Oxford and they'd have to carry him out of town in a pine box.
He left the next day and built one of the nation's most successful programs at Auburn, where the Tigers went 13-0 four seasons ago. But Tuberville, who made about $3 million a year, resigned after finishing 5-7 during a tumultuous year that included the midseason firing of his offensive coordinator and a lopsided loss to state rival Alabama. The school still paid him a $5.1 million buyout.

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