Houston Nutt and NC State
An Arkansas fan obtained Houston Nutt's cell phone records courtesy the Freedom of Information Act: it's all right here (HT: EDSBS). Skip down to page ten of the PDF file for the State-related stuff. Among the findings: several calls from Nutt to Raleigh, NC phone numbers--intermixed with calls to his agent--between December 3rd and December 5th (O'Brien was hired on the 9th).
One of those calls? To Joe Pate.
Update: A rumor from back in September of last year suggested that Nutt was campaigning for the NCSU job, should it open. In the comments, Jeff noted:
Joe Pate, currently in NC State's Athletics Department, was on Arkansas' staff and has deep ties to Nutt.
It would appear that rumor had some legs.