So what was then-Arkansas coach Houston Nutt doing calling Nevin Shapiro? Shapiro, as you know, is the jailed ex-Miami booster who sits on the verge of single-handedly bringing down the Hurricane athletics department. And Nutt contacted him.
The Palm Beach/Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports that Nutt called Shapiro on December 7th, 2006 and spoke to him for 30 minutes. The coach then hung up and phoned his agent, Jimmy Sexton. And then he called Shapiro back.
All this info comes from the phone records of Nutt, acquired in 2007 via the Freedom of Information Act.
Most likely, Shapiro — Miami’s biggest booster at the time — and Nutt were chatting about the head coaching search going on in Coral Gables at the time. Obviously things didn’t work out between Nutt and the Canes. Miami hired by-the-book Randy Shannon. Nutt coached one more season in Fayetteville before leaving for Ole Miss… with torch-bearing Razorback fans on his tail.
In 2007, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette tracked down Shapiro who said: “Somehow, some way that information ended up in front of me that he would be a viable candidate for the job. There was no real meat to it.”
None of this ties Nutt to any wrongdoing, of course. He was in contact with a school’s biggest booster. Those things happen all the time as coaching searches play out behind the scenes.
Still, if you’re an Ole Miss fan today, do you want your coach’s name tied in any way, shape or form to Shapiro? Here’s betting Nutt would’ve preferred this never came out.