David Cutcliffe, who led Ole Miss to four bowl games in six seasons and mentored quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, has been named Duke University's 21st head football coach, Duke Director of Athletics Joe Alleva announced on Saturday.
Currently the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee, Cutcliffe succeeds Ted Roof and will continue to serve on the Tennessee staff through the Volunteers' Outback Bowl appearance Jan. 1 in Tampa.
"When I announced my decision to move in a different direction with our football program," said Alleva, "I clearly stated our criteria. We were looking for a leader who has head coaching experience, preferably at the Bowl Championship Subdivision (BCS) level; has directed a winning football program; has an outstanding offensive mind; has proven himself on the recruiting trail; will represent the University in an exemplary fashion, both on campus and in the Durham community, and understands that at Duke academic excellence goes hand-in-hand with excellence on the playing fields.
"We found that person in David Cutcliffe. Coach Cutcliffe is well-respected among his peers and his former players for his coaching knowledge and motivational skills. Coach Cutcliffe's values are well-aligned with the institutional values of Duke University. We believe we have found the right man to lead our football program to the excellence that is synonymous with Duke."
Cutcliffe, 53, comes to Duke after serving the past two seasons as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. His head coaching experience includes a six-year stint at the University of Mississippi from 1999-04 where he compiled a 44-29 record with five winning seasons and a share of the SEC Western Division championship in 2003. Cutcliffe was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading the Rebels to a 10-3 record, including a 31-28 victory over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.
"Duke is serious about restoring excitement and a winning tradition to Duke football," Duke President Richard H. Brodhead said. "David Cutcliffe's selection as our head coach shows Duke is committed to helping our players achieve the excellence we seek, both on and off the field. Coach Cutcliffe is a proven motivator and experienced leader, and I am delighted to welcome him to Duke. I'm also grateful to a superb search committee that worked with Joe Alleva and me to achieve this great result."
Added Tennessee head football coach Phillip Fulmer, "David Cutcliffe is a great hire for Duke University. He is an outstanding football coach that understands all aspects of the game. He is an accomplished recruiter and great communicator. He's also a tremendous worker, and he and his family will always represent Duke University in a first-class manner."
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Cutcliffe graduated from the University of Alabama in 1976. He is married to the former Karen Oran of Harriman, Tenn., and they are the parents of four children: Chris, Katie, Emily and Marcus Hilliard, an adopted family member.
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