FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt fired his quarterbacks coach Friday and hired Springdale's Gus Malzahn, the highly successful high school coach of a much-sought-after prospect, as the Razorbacks' new offensive coordinator.
"It's a true honor for me," Malzahn said at a university news
conference. "I am truly excited to be here."
Nutt made other changes in his coaching staff after his second
losing season in a row.
The Razorbacks used two quarterbacks this season -- Robert Johnson and Casey Dick -- and finished the year 4-7. Malzahn has a
high school record of 144-36-1 at three schools, with three state
"It's a great deal for high school coaches," Nutt said. "I
have an awesome respect for high school coaches. My father was a
high school coach for 33 years."
Malzahn this year coached Springdale to a 14-0 record and an
Arkansas Class AAAAA state championship. His quarterback was Mitch
Mustain, the Gatorade national player of the year who has said he
would attend Arkansas. Mustain's mother said this week that the
quarterback might reconsider.
At the news conference, Nutt reminisced about high school
coaches he has known, including the high school coach that
persuaded him to attend Arkansas. Nutt couldn't talk about Mustain
directly, under NCAA guidelines, but no doubt would like to see
Mustain follow Malzahn and honor his previous commitment to the
Malzahn claimed divine intervention for the opportunity to coach
"I totally believe that God has blessed me with a unique
ability to know offense, to call offense. I'm truly excited to be
here. I can't wait to get started," Malzahn said.
Nutt said earlier Friday that, after considering Arkansas'
football future, he had decided to take the Razorbacks in a new
direction without Wittke.
"It wasn't an easy decision to make because of the quality of
the individual involved. I'm grateful to Roy for his contributions
to our program in his tenure," Nutt said.
Arkansas has had back-to-back losing records for the first time
Assistants Chris Vaughn, Clifton Ealy and James Shibest will
take on new duties at Arkansas.
Vaughn will move from safeties coach and recruiting coordinator
to director of on-campus recruiting; Ealy will move from tight end
coach to director of high school relations; Shibest will coach
tight ends and special teams.
Wittke had coached at Arkansas for three years.