Report: David Cutcliffe Will Take Over As Next Tennessee Football Coach

Jon StarSenior Writer IJanuary 14, 2010

DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 13:  Head coach David Cutcliffe of the Duke Blue Devils talks to his defense against the Navy Midshipmen during the game at Wallace Wade Stadium on September 13, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In a move that cannot be too much of a surprise to any Volunteers fan, the University of Tennessee reached out to a familiar face to take the reins of a suddenly disjointed football program. 

Reports out of Knoxville this afternoon indicate that Duke head coach David Cutcliffe will return to Tennessee, where he was a long time assistant coach and more recently the offensive coordinator from 2006-2007.

The hiring of Cutcliffe brings stability to Knoxville after Lane Kiffin set off a storm of fury with his quick exit to USC one year after taking the head coaching job.

It has been a tumultuous 48 hours on Rocky Top to say the least. After being formally turned down by Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, and reportedly Jon Gruden, athletic director Mike Hamilton has reportedly turned to someone from within the Tennessee inner circle.

Earlier in the day, news circulated that Calhoun was nearing a deal with Tennessee, but he put that speculation to rest by announcing his intention to stay at the Air Force Academy.

In 2008 Cutcliffe was named head coach at Duke University, where he steadily improved a floundering football program.  At Duke, he recorded a 9-15 record.

Prior to his last job at Tennessee, Cutcliffe was the head coach at Ole Miss for seven seasons. There he accumulated a 44-29 overall record, a 4-1 bowl record, and more notably groomed Eli Manning into the first overall pick in the NFL draft.

Lane Kiffin called Tennessee a "top 15 job in America" from behind the cozy confines of his podium at USC, but there are already mixed reactions among fans about Cutcliffe.  Cutcliffe is seen as a safe landing spot for the Tennessee football program which is trying to regain its footing following Kiffin's sudden departure.