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 Mississippi 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.