Funeral arrangements are still pending as of late Wednesday afternoon.
Nutt - one of the most influential figures in the history of ACU men's basketball - was inducted into the ACU Sports Hall of Fame as part of the 1987-88 class, the second class in the hall's history. An all-state high school player in Clifton, Ariz., Nutt was an all-conference guard for the Wildcats during his playing career, which spanned 1946-50. He later became the Wildcats' head coach, and in two separate stints covering 16 seasons he posted a record of 208-201 and led the Wildcats to seven conference championships.
ACU Hall of Famer Dr. David Wray played for Nutt from 1964-67 and was a central figure on two of the best teams in school history, and he said Nutt's impact on his life - as well as on the lives of his teammates - can't be overstated.
"He was a significant mentor in my life, and the lessons learned on the ACU campus and basketball court formed me for a lifetime of imitating the Godly principles and practices of his life," said Wray, who is currently Associate Dean of Spiritual Life and Co-curriculum and Associate Professor of Christian Education at ACU.
"Coach Nutt cared much more about character development and the well-being of his athletes than his won-loss record," Wray said. "It was not unusual for Coach Nutt to invite the team over to his house for a time of worship and prayer. During those worship times he instilled in us spiritual principles which have provided all of us former athletes with a moral compass throughout our lives. His behavior on and off the court served as an exemplar for the scores of us who played for him."
As a prep standout at Clifton (Ariz.) High School, Nutt was a 1946 all-state selection, along with future Arizona State football star Wilford "Whizzer" White.
Nutt, a 1950 graduate of Abilene Christian, was one of the school's all-time great men's basketball players. He was a three-time all-Texas Conference first team selection (1947-48, 1948-49 and 1949-50), and finished his career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,143 points in 89 games. He was the Texas Conference Most Valuable Player in 1947-48 after leading the the Wildcats to a 17-7 record and the conference title as a sophomore.
Nutt was named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball all-America first team in 1950 after leading ACU to a 13-10 record and the third of what would eventually be four straight Texas Conference championships. The Wildcats were a combined 58-32 in Nutt's four seasons as a player.
After he finished playing for the Wildcats, Nutt played for the Artesia (N.M.) Travelers of the National Industrial Basketball League before he replaced legendary A.B. Morris as the Wildcats' head basketball coach in 1955.
During his first 14 seasons as the Wildcats' coach (1955-69), the Wildcats were 199-156 and won seven conference championships, four in the Texas Conference and three in the Southland Conference. Nutt directed the Wildcats to seven NCAA regional tournament appearances, including in 1965-66 when they won the regional championship and reached the national quarterfinals.
The Wildcats won Texas Conference titles in 1956-57, 1958-59, 1959-60 and 1961-62, and claimed Southland Conference titles in 1964-65, 1965-66 and 1967-68. The three ACU teams from 1963-66 are three of the best in Wildcat men's basketball history, compiling a combined record of 56-25 and three straight appearances in the regional tournament.
The Wildcats won the regional championship in 1965-66 and went on to the NCAA small-college national tournament where they lost 63-62 to a North Dakota squad led by future NBA head coach Phil Jackson. Wray remembers the aftermath of that loss as another teaching moment in Nutt's life.
"After losing that game, Coach Nutt used the post-game locker room talk for affirmation and encouragement of each player," Wray recalled. "He described ways in which he imagined each of us being leaders in our various professions, our congregations, and families. Coach was naturally disappointed with the loss, but he used that occasion - and most situations - to help us reflect on what really matters in life."
Nutt resigned in 1969 to become coach of the national team of Mexico for the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali, Columbia, and 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany. Before returning for another two-year stint as the ACU men's basketball coach in the late 1980s, Nutt served as superintendent and head basketball coach at Abilene Christian High School.