Arkansas State Coach Dickey Nutt Steps Down

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Dickey Nutt is stepping down as Arkansas State's basketball coach.

Nutt announced his departure Tuesday night at a news conference in Jonesboro. This was his 13th season as the Indians' coach.

Arkansas State (9-17, 4-11 Sun Belt Conference) has lost seven consecutive games.

"Our record doesn't indicate the fight that this team has in it," Nutt said. "But after conferring with (athletic director Dean) Lee this morning, I've agreed to step down and resign."

Assistants Shawn Forrest and Al Grushkin will take over as co-interim head coaches. The Indians have three games remaining in the regular season, starting Thursday night at Arkansas-Little Rock.

Nutt's brother Houston was the football coach at Arkansas for nearly 10 seasons. He left the Razorbacks in November after a tumultuous year and took over at Mississippi.

Nutt went 189-187 at Arkansas State and led the team to the NCAA tournament in 1999. Last season, a late winning streak brought the Indians within a game of another trip to the NCAAs, but they lost to North Texas in the championship game of the Sun Belt tournament.

Arkansas State hardly looks like an NCAA tournament contender this season. The Indians' leading scorer, Adrian Banks, was suspended earlier in the season and has started only 12 games.

"I encouraged our basketball team today to keep fighting, hang on to that rope," Nutt said. "I regret that we didn't get our team back to the NCAA tournament."

On Jan. 24, Nutt moved into sole possession of second place on the school's career list with his 189th win. Arkansas State hasn't won since. John Rauth holds the school record with 191 wins.

Nutt is also second on the Sun Belt's career list with 102 conference wins. He's nine victories behind Gene Bartow.

"We know it's a difficult decision for him, but commend his position to step down in the best interest of the program," Lee said. "We know it was a tough decision for him to make ... but he has handled it honorably and admirably."

Nutt left without taking questions, saying he had to be at his son's high school basketball game. Forrest and Grushkin spoke after Nutt.

"It's been a difficult day, and it's been hard," Grushkin said. "The guys practiced hard today. We'll get them ready. It's about the kids."

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