DURHAM, N.C. — Football coach David Cutcliffe is staying at Duke.
Amid reports that he was a candidate for the opening at Tennessee, the two-time Volunteers assistant coach said Friday he would remain with the Blue Devils.
“After much thought and consideration, Karen and I reached the decision that Duke is the place for our family,” Cutcliffe said in a statement issued through the school.
Because of his deep-rooted connections to the Southeastern Conference and the Volunteers’ program, Cutcliffe was considered one of the obvious choices to replace Lane Kiffin, who left abruptly this week for Southern California.
“We have both family members and lifetime friends in the Knoxville community and share a deep respect for the University of Tennessee,” he said. “Our ties to the school and the eastern Tennessee area are obvious. But before Tennessee’s hiring process comes to a conclusion, I know that Duke University is where we want to coach.”
Duke athletic director Kevin White said Cutcliffe told him Friday morning that he “intends to remain the Duke football coach for a long time.”
“Simply put, we could not be happier or more excited about the future of the Blue Devils football program,” White said.
Cutcliffe was on Tennessee’s staff from 1982-1998 and from 2006-07, leaving twice to take head coaching jobs.
He went 44-29 with five bowl appearances in six-plus seasons at Ole Miss from 1998-2004. Cutcliffe is 9-15 in two seasons at Duke, which won a combined eight games in the five years before he arrived. The Blue Devils are coming off a 5-7 finish, their best since 1994.
This marks the second time in nearly 15 months that he removed his name from consideration for the Tennessee job. When longtime friend and mentor Phillip Fulmer was forced out in November 2008, Cutcliffe quickly quashed speculation that he would return to Knoxville.
Cutcliffe to remain at Duke
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe announced on Friday he will remain at the school amid speculation that he is a candidate to become the head coach at the University of Tennessee.
“After much thought and consideration, Karen and I reached the decision that Duke is the place for our family,” Cutcliffe said. “We have both family members and lifetime friends in the Knoxville community and share a deep respect for the University of Tennessee. Our ties to the school and the Eastern Tennessee area are obvious. But before Tennessee’s hiring process comes to a conclusion, I know that Duke University is where we want to coach.
“I’ve said all along that what makes Duke so special is the people, and that is the truth. We’ve received tremendous support from President Brodhead, Kevin White and the rest of the school’s administration and are very grateful for their efforts. We have the best coaching staff in the country, and are convinced that we will continue to build a successful football program that both the Duke and Durham communities will be proud of.”
“David Cutcliffe informed us this morning that he intends to remain the Duke football coach for a long time,” Duke Vice President & Director of Athletics Kevin White said. “He is a tremendous football coach, and an even better person with a terrific family. Simply put, we could not be happier or more excited about the future of the Blue Devil football program. In just two years, David and his stellar coaching staff have made a significant impact on the department, the university and the Durham community. Together, we look forward to building on that great work for many years to come. Under David’s guidance and with the strong support of university leadership, Duke is committed to building a football program consistent with the standard of excellence exhibited throughout the entire institution.”
Cutcliffe has guided Duke to a 9-15 overall record in two seasons. The Blue Devils had won 10 games in the previous eight seasons combined. In ACC play, Duke’s four wins in two years under Cutcliffe is one league victory greater than the previous eight-year total.
“We are extremely excited about the future of this program,” Cutcliffe continued. “From the players we have returning, to our work on the recruiting front to our facility projects, we know we’re headed in the right direction.”
The Blue Devils return 41 lettermen and 17 starters from last year’s squad that posted a 5-7 overall record, marking the program’s highest win total since 1994.