Cutcliffe forming staff to return to UT

Duke coach is leading candidate; Hamilton says no offer out to anyone

David Cutcliffe

Photo by News Sentinel file

David Cutcliffe

Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe is assembling a coaching staff in anticipation of becoming the head coach at the University of Tennessee, a source close to the negotiations told the News Sentinel late Thursday.

When asked about Cutcliffe, UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said via text message that the university was still in the interviewing phase of the process and that no offer had been made to anyone.

Although Cutcliffe is assembling a staff, the deal has not been finalized. An agreement could be reached as early as today, but Cutcliffe, 55, has let loyalty to his assistants affect his career decisions in the past.

Cutcliffe, who has a career record of 53-44 in eight seasons, was fired by Ole Miss in 2004 after he refused to replace some of the coaches on his staff.

The Vols still have six coaches left over from the staff assembled by Lane Kiffin, who resigned Tuesday to become coach at the University of Southern California.

Cutcliffe’s projected staff would include Kurt Roper, who has been his offensive coordinator at Duke. Roper coached running backs at UT when Cutcliffe was offensive coordinator under then-head coach Phillip Fulmer.

Offensive line coach Matt Luke also is a strong candidate to join UT’s staff. Luke was an assistant offensive line/tight ends coach and served as recruiting coordinator during his two seasons at UT.

UT interim head coach Kippy Brown likely would have the option to remain at UT. Hamilton said Brown is a candidate for UT’s vacancy, but Brown seemed open to working under Cutcliffe when contacted Thursday.

“I love David,” said Brown, who worked with Cutcliffe on UT’s staff in 1993-94. “David is a good coach.”

UT would owe two seasons of pay to any coach it fired if that coach didn’t secure employment elsewhere. Brown would be owed three seasons of pay if he’s not retained.

Besides Brown, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, offensive line coach James Cregg, quarterbacks coach David Reaves, linebackers coach Lance Thompson and defensive backs coach Willie Mack Garza remain on staff.

Fulmer released a statement earlier in the day that called for UT to hire a coach who displays integrity and embraces the university’s traditions.

Fulmer, who coached with Cutcliffe at UT, told the News Sentinel he would endorse Cutcliffe’s hiring.

“He’s the kind of person I described earlier in my release,” Fulmer said Thursday evening. “The type of person and coach that I thought the team needed, and he fits those parameters to a tee.”

Meanwhile, Duke would not acknowledge Cutcliffe was leaving Thursday.

“Given his history, David Cutcliffe doesn’t need to interview for the job at Tennessee,” Duke sports information director Art Chase told The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. “He did that for 19 years.”

Cutcliffe received much of the credit with returning UT’s offense to respectability during his second stint with the Vols.

In 2006 and 2007, Cutcliffe helped the Vols to a 19-8 record and two Outback Bowl appearances after the Vols finished 5-6 in 2005.

In 2007, Tennessee went 10-4 and 6-2 in the SEC and won the SEC Eastern Division title.

Cutcliffe helped Eric Ainge transform from a struggling quarterback who was benched in 2005 to a solid passer, who threw for 6,511 yards and 50 touchdowns in two seasons.

It is Cutcliffe’s work with

two other quarterbacks that

has drawn him national acclaim. He helped Peyton Manning to

an All-American career at UT from 1994-97, then did the

same for younger brother Eli Manning at Ole Miss from

2000-03.

Both were Heisman Trophy finalists and selected with the first pick in the NFL draft.

At Ole Miss, Cutcliffe’s only losing season was his last. The Rebels finished 4-7 in 2004, and he was replaced by former UT assistant Ed Orgeron, who was fired after three seasons and a 10-25 record.

Cutcliffe is married to the former Karen Oran of Harriman. They have four children.

Austin Ward contributed to this report.

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Comments » 1670

jobrando#216494 writes:

FIRE HAMILTON _

VolFan1012 writes:

Thanks for the update. On a related note...I have not agreed to be the Head Coach either. I guess we have more in common than I thought!
How 'bout you update us when there is news, and not when there isn't news!!!

ghost_of_which_doctor (Inactive) writes:

Jim L Mora is your man....really!

TheCommish writes:

It's Cutcliffe--whether it's today or tomorrow. The Duke website has deleted the coaching staff from the Football Coaches page:

http://www.goduke.com/SportSelect.dbm...

TommyJack writes:

Hire Kippy Brown

riverosa writes:

give the job to kippy

utnoeler writes:

great, thanks for letting us know that we still dont have a coach. thats a real headline grabber.

orangepaws writes:

Thank goodness...whew!

windy writes:

I judt had a phone call from a friend in Knoxville, and he said Cutliff has been hired. They are trying to keep it quiet until Hamilton can have his press confrence. He will keep Kippy Brown and will try to bring bach Chavis from LSU.

All_Vol writes:

Shew, thank goodness.

tnsportsman writes:

Good to hear! KIPPY, KIPPY, KIPPY!
Don't get me wrong, we could do worst than Cutcliffe. In my opinion Kippy brings more than Cutcliffe, it's a fresh start

surfmaster writes:

I feel like a death row inmate that just got a 24 hour reprieve from the Governor.

go_vols_go writes:

Not sure about Cutcliffe. Could be good, Could be bad. The man can coach QB's.

DooleyBall2012 writes:

How disapointed would you be if Cutcliffe was announced HC today? True he would bring stability to the face of the program but then again Fulmer did the same.

westknoxvol24 writes:

forget it guys.....cutcliffe is coming?!?!

DevoSanchez writes:

No reason to fire Hamilton. He made a great hire and we had a tremendous staff...then got very, very unlucky that Petey up and left. No one could have seen that coming. Can't be results-oriented.
btw...

GOD PLEASE NO CUTCLIFFE!!!!!!! I SWEAR I WILL DISOWN THIS PROGRAM IF THEY GET HIM!

orangepaws writes:

Please report Stoops and Nutt aren't interested, either...this could turn out to be a better day than I thought...

Texassean writes:

I would love to see Cut take the job. When he was on staff with Fulmer, we had success. When he left, we did not. Came back... success. Left, well, you know what happened then. Sanders and then the Clawfense. I say sign that man up.

tnsportsman writes:

in response to surfmaster:

I feel like a death row inmate that just got a 24 hour reprieve from the Governor.

LOL ain't that the damn truth!

All_Vol writes:

in response to windy:

I judt had a phone call from a friend in Knoxville, and he said Cutliff has been hired. They are trying to keep it quiet until Hamilton can have his press confrence. He will keep Kippy Brown and will try to bring bach Chavis from LSU.

Bad idea!

VolCrazy writes:

There is nothing wrong with David Cutcliffe. Yes his offense is predictable, but it works. His track record as a head coach isn't bad, either. Pulling two programs out of the crapper, one of them an SEC school. I think a familiar face would be good for big orange nation right now.

Tennacious writes:

Whew, nothing against Coach Cut, but he's just not what I was hoping for in a new coach. He would do, but he wouldn't excite too many folks.

Gart5 writes:

No no no no no. Do not hire Cutcliffe. Nobody from the old regime. I don't want to go back to mediocrity. In the words of Mike Singletary, I want winners.

Volsrbest writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Hire Kippy Brown

Agree!

orangepaws writes:

windy is bein' mean to us now...thats brutal

NeylandWest writes:

I bleed orange and simply want coaches, administrators, fans and players who do the same.

gatavol writes:

in response to VolFan1012:

Thanks for the update. On a related note...I have not agreed to be the Head Coach either. I guess we have more in common than I thought!
How 'bout you update us when there is news, and not when there isn't news!!!

...and on another note, I haven't been hired either nor have I been contacted. More updates to come.

corrytonvol4ever writes:

GUS MALZAHN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

windy writes:

in response to All_Vol:

Bad idea!

May be, but is what is be talked over there.

westknoxvol24 writes:

in response to All_Vol:

Bad idea!

just heard the same thing

TigerVet writes:

Yep,Cutcliffe is coming back....book it!!!

jobrando#216494 writes:

I heard it's a 5 year contract at 1.75mil

SIMSVOL writes:

Very disappointing if it's Cutcliffe. He's a good man, a good coach. But we need energy, passion, and top notch recruiting - from someone with the energy to hit the recruitng trail and develop players once there on the Hill.
Get a big name coach with huge money or get a younger up and coming coach - like Kevin Steele, who many at Florida State say they'd rather have right now over Jimbo fisher -

utsandmann writes:

I have no problem with cut, but I think that his hire would mean Hamilton's fire. Can't imagine that he would work under hammy.

Volon writes:

Just remember when they do name a coach....don't drink the Kool Ade so fast. Sip it this time. Look at the coach with an open mind. Probably not the savior of the program, or the killer of the program.

Texassean writes:

in response to windy:

I judt had a phone call from a friend in Knoxville, and he said Cutliff has been hired. They are trying to keep it quiet until Hamilton can have his press confrence. He will keep Kippy Brown and will try to bring bach Chavis from LSU.

Not 3rd and Chavis! Please not 3rd and Chavis. Can we pry Monte away from Cali? :-) I don't think there would be ANY greater blow to CLK than stealing his dad from his staff! haha What a guaranteed way to see Lame fail!

letshave1more writes:

MH needs to be fired!!!

HIRE KB!!!

go_vols_go writes:

in response to windy:

I judt had a phone call from a friend in Knoxville, and he said Cutliff has been hired. They are trying to keep it quiet until Hamilton can have his press confrence. He will keep Kippy Brown and will try to bring bach Chavis from LSU.

We've all seen this movie before....... Good the first few times you see it, but gets stale when you know all the qoutes. V, B!!

volinflorida2 writes:

He did coach 2 top NFL qb's and beat The Mighty Gators while at UT and Ole Miss. He is "Vanilla" but seeminly a good guy.

windy writes:

By hiring Cutcliff, Hamiliton is just trying to protect his job. Thinks it is a safe and secure hire.

Volmania writes:

Cutcliffe is a good coach who attracts phenomenal quarterbacks. Keep Kippy on staff, get a great Defensive Coordinator, and it will be a good pick. We are not in a great negotiating position right now as a program, and Cut is better than most of these mediocre names that are surfacing now.

crimsonviper writes:

I am speechless..I need a nap..

RoyaltyVol writes:

Oh Im so sick of the Hammy spinzone. Cuts the guy, but they are trying to be politically correct and time the announcement just right so Hammy looks good!

bobowling1#1377232 writes:

I love the way they word things. Was he Offered? Thats what I want to know. If he was, Hamilton should be fired before he gets back to Knoxville.

VolCrazy writes:

in response to FirstAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Can't disagree, but remember who is doing the looking. If we are going to make a quick hire like hamilton wants, then we might as well sign Cutcliffe because he is the best we are going to get on the ridiculous "by the weekend" timetable that mike hamilton has laid out.

Hit_the_switch_on_Kiffin writes:

i do not want cutcliffe i do not want cutcliffe i do not want cutcliffe.. *opens eyes* DAMMIT its cutcliffe

volsmanning16 writes:

geez i hope he doesn't come! taking 2 steps back is not the way to move foward. quit living in the past UT. D*mn--there are way too many coaches out there that move us in the right direction--why not take our time and NOT give a "KNEE JERK REACTION" just for this rec. class--why not look for the right guy and maybe lose guys this year and make up for it, in the next 3 to 5 years--Rome wasn't built in a day--LET'S MOVE FOWARD HERE AT UT

RollTideJoe writes:

Read USC site on Rivals. Sound familiar? Kiffin: "when we win seven BCS bowl invitations in a row, win three Heismans, and three national championships......". A snake only sheds his skins but he never loses his stripes! I hope Oregon and UCLA beat the bums (including Orgeron-a lying piece of dirt) every year. I'm a Tide fan, but what he did in Knoxville was a joke. Who did he beat other than Georgia, who everyone was beating? Remember, he was going to "sing Rocky Top all night long after beating Florida and Alabama". Uh huh. He's all bravado.

FrostyVol writes:

if true, im disappointed. i like Cut, but this is a step back. I dont view him as an agressive recruiter. We need some energy and vitality in the program. This isnt it. I still think Jeremy Bates would be interesting.

bleeding_orange_fan writes:

Trooper Taylor for OC!!!

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