Cutcliffe wrestled with UT decision

DURHAM, N.C. - For those who just knew David Cutcliffe had all but packed for Knoxville and accepted a job as the new coach at Tennessee, there was a surprise Friday morning - the Duke coach decided to remain with the Blue Devils.

"I hope they are not all that disappointed with not being able to get their replacement choice in here," Cutcliffe said at an afternoon news conference.

With Lane Kiffin suddenly leaving Tennessee this week and accepting a job at Southern California, the Vols were left with a coaching vacancy. Cutcliffe, whose two previous stints at the school totaled 19 seasons, surfaced as a prime candidate.

On Friday, he described his consideration of the job at Tennessee as a "big decision," saying he took into account his family and his current situation at Duke while weighing his options. He said he "didn't see this coming," and the pace of the past two days was "bam, bam, bam."

In the end, Cutcliffe said he looked at the long-term goals his staff has set for the Duke program and the progress the team has made in the past two seasons and decided it was better to stay put. He said his health did not factor in the process.

"Finish the job you start," he said. "That's one of the things my dad also said, 'If you're going to do something, do it right and finish the job.' "

Cutcliffe, who recently completed his second season at Duke, has a 9-15 record at the school.

Cutcliffe, 55, has a long history with Tennessee.

"It wasn't about what was at Tennessee or what was involved in another world," he said. "It was about what was at Duke. I wasn't looking for a job. And when you like the job you've got, you evaluate that first. And that's what I evaluated first: Can we win here? Yes. Can we build a program here? Yes. It just kept coming back yes."

Cutcliffe made his final decision in the early-morning hours Friday.

Duke players were certainly rattled by the coach's silence Thursday. He said he spoke with a few Wednesday but did not send out a message to the entire team.

"We knew his history, his situation," tight end Brett Huffman said. "This seemed like a dream job for him. If he took it, obviously we'd understand where he was coming from. On the other hand, on the more selfish side, we wanted him to stay with us. And I couldn't be more happy with his decision."

Tony Scott, father of Duke freshman running back Desmond Scott, said he also was happy with Cutcliffe's decision. However, he said he was disappointed that Cutcliffe did not communicate Thursday that he considered leaving.

"I don't know all that was going on in terms of negotiations and renegotiations between Duke and Cut and Cut and Tennessee," he said. "But it makes me feel that we don't know about the certainty or the stability of this program as we move forward.

"Before this incident I had the upmost confidence and respect for Cut, and this situation has kind of tainted my view."

Cutcliffe said he could not communicate with the entire team in this situation, though he did think of players, considering three new signees were recently enrolled for the spring semester.

He said he didn't take the decision lightly.

"Good gosh. How fair is that?" he said. "We've got guys that have dropped any other recruiting from any other institution long ago. How fair is that? . . . I felt a little dirty thinking about it."

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Comments » 19

jarvol writes:

Can move forward by going backwards. Glad Cut ain't coming back and throwing 9 bubble screens per game. Fire Hamilton. Hire Charles Davis as AD and tell Fulmer to sit on his porch and keep his piehole shut while he rapes UT of $7 million.

jbc writes:

I think he did the right thing.

ibvolman writes:

"Finish the job you start," he said. "That's one of the things my dad also said, 'If you're going to do something, do it right and finish the job.'

Sounds like a certain coach, who shall remain un-named, should take a few lessons from a class act like Coach Cutt.

tenuscvol writes:

Of course, the kids at LaTech are the ones who get the rough end of this deal but based on what I saw of Coach Dooley tonight I believe he would was teaching those boys to always be trying to better their situation for them and their families and I'm sure most, if not all understood his leaving and wished him well.

kb7398#233189 writes:

in response to jarvol:

Can move forward by going backwards. Glad Cut ain't coming back and throwing 9 bubble screens per game. Fire Hamilton. Hire Charles Davis as AD and tell Fulmer to sit on his porch and keep his piehole shut while he rapes UT of $7 million.

You contributed nothing to the discussion...just stay away. It's admirable that Cut decided to stay at Duke...I wouldn't have. And those nine bubble screens per game...how many times did you cheer when they went for big plays?

Fulmer more than earned that big payout...so get off him. He can say whatever he pleases seeing as how he got the business end of the Big Orange Screw from Hammy and Haslam.

Morton writes:

Cutcliffe would have easily come to Tennesee if he could have brought his coaching staff. Tennesee was not ready to axe the assistants still on the payroll, especially with some of the recent hires.

I'm thankful!!

Apreciative of what Cutcliffe did for UT years ago. Had he stayed, he and Fulmer would probably still be running the show. However, he opted to leave and that was the ultimate demise of Fulmer and the program.

He was the 'safe' choice after the recent events, but UT needs to move forward.

Cutcliffe made his choice years ago, and he wasn't like Muschamp at Texas. He was not willing to wait for his turn as HC at Tennessee, so he's coaching Duke football.

Welcome Dooley!!!

wayoutwill writes:

in response to jarvol:

Can move forward by going backwards. Glad Cut ain't coming back and throwing 9 bubble screens per game. Fire Hamilton. Hire Charles Davis as AD and tell Fulmer to sit on his porch and keep his piehole shut while he rapes UT of $7 million.

I couldn't have said it any better!

Orange87 writes:

I wanted Kippy Brown to have a chance, more than Cutcliff. Not sure about Dooley...

Did Mike Hamilton ask him this time.. "Derek, would you call the University of Georgia your 'Dream Job'?

Seems like he has what it takes, once he gets more staff, and players who can execute his plays.

GO VOLS!

Salpointe writes:

I'm all for giving Dooley a chance and standing behind him. He's our coach now and he needs and deserves our support. Hamilton, on the other hand, should be given his hat and coat. I think Phil should be our AD. He would have had a contingency plan in place in case his head football coach bolted on him!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

I don't think his loyalty to continue in a losing program at duke was that big a factor..He will do more for Duke football than any other coach but the idea of bringing his staff to UT wasn't going to get the job done..Iam sorry but they just aren't that good..I love Marion Hoby ;he's proably a great DLine coach but not a DC; as shown by the millions of points teams put up on them.. I respect Cut but he just looks old and tired;Looking at his picture on KNS; It didn't look like he would make it to Nov. without a defibrillator.

Ringside writes:

Should work out best for all parties. Welcome Coach Dooley. Glad you are here. Beat Georgia.

txvolsfan writes:

Thanks for the past Coach Cut and all you've done for the University. That said I don't think it would have been good for either of us though. I didn't want to go backwards and thought all along we needed a younger coach to take us forward and recruit the type of athletes we need here. I think you would have been great for young Tyler Bray though, you've developed some great QB's. Keep it going at Duke you have done well there.

jawbreaker writes:

in response to jarvol:

Can move forward by going backwards. Glad Cut ain't coming back and throwing 9 bubble screens per game. Fire Hamilton. Hire Charles Davis as AD and tell Fulmer to sit on his porch and keep his piehole shut while he rapes UT of $7 million.

One question I have: After re-establishing a beachhead into the Tennessee football program, where does Majors stand in all of this, in light of his well-publicized back-slapping relationship with the former coaching regime?

deakinbi writes:

in response to jarvol:

Can move forward by going backwards. Glad Cut ain't coming back and throwing 9 bubble screens per game. Fire Hamilton. Hire Charles Davis as AD and tell Fulmer to sit on his porch and keep his piehole shut while he rapes UT of $7 million.

Jar:

What so negative about a coach who brought us so much success? Cut is a well respected coach. We were lucky to have him...

As for the AD I agree. He has done a terrible job, including his handling of the football program from day 1.

TheVolMan writes:

in response to kb7398#233189:

You contributed nothing to the discussion...just stay away. It's admirable that Cut decided to stay at Duke...I wouldn't have. And those nine bubble screens per game...how many times did you cheer when they went for big plays?

Fulmer more than earned that big payout...so get off him. He can say whatever he pleases seeing as how he got the business end of the Big Orange Screw from Hammy and Haslam.

No, YOU need to dig deep and realize that a double-digit IQ is preventing you from realizing that sticking with Fulmer for so long dragged the program down while the SEC competition improved. And, Fulmer's "letter" about "helping" the search process was self-serving. He was still bitter over being fired and saw this as an opportunity to get his buddy Cut installed as HC. Even Peyton stuck his nose into the situation. Both he and Phil were short-sighted: they'd prefer their buddy be the HC to return us to the good old days.

That's where jarvol is right: we'd be looking at nine bubble-screens a game and would be relegated to fighting with KY for the top spot in the lower third of the SEC.

But, you will disagree. Just close your eyes and realize that the thoughts and prejudices flitting around your brain are the products of a double-digit IQ.

vols2#227315 writes:

Our loss is Duke gain. Maybe some day you can come back to UT and coach. We need you.

crimsonheart writes:

David Cutcliff is a class act AND a good man. So glad he didn't go back to UT. Now I can continue to revel in the rivalry with no remorse!!!

VolFaninFlorida writes:

Hey folks, for the real Vol fans (myself included) i think the Dooley hiring may work for the best. As NICE of a guy Cut is, he's 9-15 at Duke. Like Fulmer, (who is also a NICE guy, who i respect)... there's something amiss with the two of them and college football in 2010, hopefully Dooley brings the NICE guy image that Fulmer/Cut fans want with being able to produce wins in this age of Division 1 college football. GO VOLS !

dandyseniors#546965 writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think you have a bad attitude and a bad post.

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