LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A University of Arkansas private fundraising arm approved a salary supplement Wednesday for Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe, a strong indication that Grobe will replace Houston Nutt as the Razorbacks' coach.
There was no word from the university, however, on whether Grobe would replace Nutt, who quit Nov. 26 and was hired almost immediately by Mississippi.
The Razorback Foundation raises funds privately for Arkansas athletic programs and pays coaches amounts far beyond their regular state salaries. Nutt, for instance, made $330,000 annually from the state but had a compensation package worth $1.5 million a year - much of the extra coming from Foundation funds.
Ralph Bradbury, a member of the Razorback Foundation's board of directors, confirmed Wednesday night the foundation had approved a deal for Grobe. He said he couldn't confirm for sure that Grobe's hiring was final because that issue remains in the hands of athletic director Jeff Long and Grobe himself.
``There's absolutely no way I could confirm that it's a done deal,'' Bradbury said.
The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas reported on its Web site Wednesday night that Grobe would be Arkansas' next coach and would likely be introduced Thursday.
Grobe and Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Neither did Arkansas Chancellor John White.
Grobe was The Associated Press Coach of the Year last year, when he led the perennially downtrodden Demon Deacons to the Orange Bowl. Although they lost, they finished 11-3 with their first ACC title in 36 years.
This year, Wake Forest (8-4) will play Connecticut in the Meineke Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 29.
Nutt was in his 10th season at Arkansas when he left. He went 75-48 with the Razorbacks, but never won a Southeastern Conference title.
Arkansas (8-4) faces Missouri in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 1. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring took over as interim coach after Nutt's departure.
Grobe is in his seventh year as Wake Forest's coach. He's 45-39 with the Demon Deacons. Grobe was also the coach at Ohio University for six seasons. His overall career record is 78-72-1.
Bradbury's hesitation to confirm Grobe's actual hiring is understandable. The Razorbacks hired Dana Altman as basketball coach earlier this year. Altman then changed his mind and went back to Creighton the next day.
``You can have a press conference and still not be the coach,'' Bradbury said.

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