Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe has been offered the head coaching position at Duke and is expected to accept the job, sources within UT’s football program told the News Sentinel on Thursday.
Cutcliffe was at home Thursday after interviewing for the job in Durham, N.C.
Cutcliffe and UT coach Phillip Fulmer did not return numerous calls from the News Sentinel seeking comment. UT athletic director Mike Hamilton declined comment, citing a professional policy not to address coaching searches.
It is unknown if Cutcliffe will continue to coach the Vols through bowl practice. UT will play Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 1. Bowl practice resumes on Friday, following a four-day break for final exams.
Reports as late as Thursday had former UCLA coach Karl Dorrell pegged as a possible successor to Ted Roof, who was fired by Duke following a 1-11 record in 2007.
However, there were concerns with Dorrell, who has spent most of his career in the NFL and on the West Coast coaching college football. Dorrell would have to assemble a coaching staff willing to move and prove that he would have adequate recruiting connections along the Eastern seaboard.
Dorrell also struggled at UCLA, a program that is perceived to have sufficient support and facilities, before being fired.
As for Cutcliffe, he has proven he can succeed as a head coach at a program with inferior financial support and facilities, which will certainly be the case at Duke.
During his six seasons at Ole Miss from 1999-2004, Cutcliffe compiled a 44-29 record with the Rebels and coached Ole Miss to four bowl victories against one loss. He was the only Rebels coach in history to win at least seven games in each of his first five seasons.
The Blue Devils have won just 22 games in 13 years, including three losing streaks of 15 games or more.
Two coaches that Duke had interviewed withdrew their names from consideration. Ex-Navy coach Paul Johnson chose Georgia Tech and Bobby Johnson pulled his name out to remain at Vanderbilt.
Cutcliffe has coached at UT for two seasons as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach after returning to Knoxville following his stay at Ole Miss. He coached 17 seasons at UT. Before that he coached at Banks High School in Birmingham, Ala.