Cutcliffe: "I was in the right place at the right time"

By: Wes Boling Email
By: Wes Boling Email

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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  • by Philip Location: Knox on Dec 16, 2007 at 02:39 PM
    Now if we can only get rid of Phillip Fulmer then hopefully we will have a better team, and a better season. He is always using the same plays and using players as starters who can't play, like Eric Ainge. Hopefully someone will wise up and get us a new coach.
  • by Timbo Location: Blaine, TN on Dec 15, 2007 at 09:54 PM
    I hate to see coach Cutty leave after two short years back with the VOLS, but I reckon "money talks". What do we do now? Try and drag Randy Sanders back? LOL! I should hope not! Your guess is as good as mine at this point!
  • by thomas Location: powell, tn on Dec 15, 2007 at 07:24 PM
    Mr. Cutcliffe is qualified to be the head coach at Duke. However, his last tenure at Tennessee proves that it takes more than an offensive coordinator to win a championship today. There was only minor improvement over the teams Randy Sanders coached versus the Cutcliffe teams. I think they both did their best. I don't think Tennessee had or has the quality players that is needed to be a top (5) team.
  • by Brian Location: Colorado Springs on Dec 15, 2007 at 06:50 PM
    I don't like the sound of this at all! Escpecially this comment "Man, am I glad to be at Duke."! So much for loyalty to the Vols and Fulmer. And once again...DUKE!!?? Give me a break! That football team hasnt' done anything since the old Spurrier days. Bad move and bad for Tennessee.


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