After electing not to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano because of the massive amount of backlash the potential hire received, Tennessee has had to turn their search for a head coach elsewhere. And they reportedly received a “no” from one of their former coaches.
According to Chris Low of ESPN, Tennessee reached out to Duke head coach David Cutcliffe to see if he had any interest in coaching the Vols. And according to Low, Cutcliffe plans to retire with Duke and doesn’t want to come back to coach Tennessee.
Tennessee has reached out to David Cutcliffe about the Vols’ head coaching job, but Cutcliffe informed UT officials that he wasn’t interested and plans to finish his coaching career at Duke. The Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the 5th time in the last 6 years.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) November 28, 2017
Cutcliffe has been Duke’s head coach since 2008, and he’s had success as the Blue Devils head coach. Counting this year, he has taken them to a bowl game in five of the last six seasons, and he helped the Blue Devils to their first 10-win season in program history in 2013. They also won their division and played in the ACC Championship Game that season.
Duke averaged 1.7 wins per season for the 13 seasons before Cutcliffe took over as head coach. They had gone winless in four seasons during that span and were 1-10, 0-12, and 1-11 in the three seasons before Cutcliffe took over.
Cutcliffe went 4-8 in his first season with the Blue Devils and struggled to get bowl eligible until finally getting Duke to their first bowl game since 1994 when they made it to the Belk Bowl in 2012. They’ve only missed a bowl game once since then, and that was last season.
Cutcliffe has the third-most wins in Duke history and has the most bowl appearances by any Duke head coach.
Vol fans remember Cutcliffe for his time as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator from 1993-98 and again from 2006-07. He was on the Vols’ staff in 1982 as an assistant and stayed with Tennessee on the offensive side of the ball until after the 1998 season when he left to be the head coach at Ole Miss. He came back to be the Vols’ offensive coordinator in 2006 and left after the 2007 season to coach at Duke.
The Vols will move on from Cutcliffe and continue their search elsewhere after his rejection. Former Vol quarterback and current USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin and Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm appear to be the favorites in Tennessee’s search now.