DURHAM, N.C. (WVLT) -- Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe was announced as the new Duke head coach Saturday, taking over a program which has only won 22 games in the past 13 seasons.
He leaves Tennessee after a two-year tenure calling the plays. He had previously served as the Ole Miss coach for six seasons.
"You try to put yourself in a great situation and stay around great places. It just hit me that I was in the right place in the right time....I knew I was surrounded by winners," Cutcliffe said at the press conference where he was announced.
Cutcliffe was optimistic about his chances to turn the Duke program around.
"They're going to become winners on the field. When they're willing to pay the price, that's what happens," Cutcliffe said.
He said he plans to "manage the kicking game first," because "that will win close ball games." He preached balance and the ability to run the football -- "If you can run, we're gonna find you at Duke University and we're gonna recruit you" -- and a prolific passing game -- "We're gonna throw the heck out of it."
He also thanked the Tennessee administrators and coaching staff for their "attitude and support through all of this."
He said his first words with a smile -- "Man, am I glad to be at Duke."
He said he will coach at Tennessee through the bowl game, and that the game plan for the Outback Bowl was in place. "I don't think I'm short-changing Tennessee [by coaching the bowl game], and I'm certainly not going to short-change Duke," he said.
Cutcliffe was fired by Ole Miss after six seasons as the Rebels' head coach. ""I am 100 times more prepared this time around than I was [at Ole Miss]...I cannot wait to get started," Cutcliffe said. "My energy level is probably as high as it's ever been."
Coach Cutcliffe was not at UT practice tonight says he will rejoin the team for bowl preparations on Sunday. Prior to the squads Saturday evening workout inside the Neyland Thompson Sports Center, Coach Fulmer echoed his sentiments from Friday saying he was happy for his long time friend. As for the process of hiring a replacement coach Fulmer says he's already made some calls. He says, "..we're looking for someone with experience that can handle themselves with integrity and at a championship level." As for the possibility of other current staff members possibly leaving, the coach says this is, "..a very volatile profession and that anything is possible and we'll deal with that as it comes up." The dean of SEC coaches went on to say he's excited about the possibility of bringing someone in with new ideas, a positive influence for the program. To listen to coach Fulmer's complete pre-practice comments following David Cutcliffe's introduction as Duke head coach, please click on the attached video link.
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