January 15, 2010 by USA Post
UT athletic director Mike Hamilton declined to confirm an agreement with Cutcliffe, who was an assistant coach at UT from 1983-98 and from 2006-07. Hamilton said only that UT was still in the interviewing process.
One issue between the two parties is Cutcliffe’s staff. Cutcliffe, who has spent the last two seasons at Duke, would like to bring many of his coaches to Knoxville with him, but the Vols still have six coaches leftover from the staff assembled by Lane Kiffin, who left UT to become the head coach at Southern California on Tuesday.
Cutcliffe’s staff is expected to include former UT running backs coach Kurt Roper, who has been Duke’s offensive coordinator under Cutcliffe.
UT interim head coach Kippy Brown is also expected to be retained. Hamilton said Brown was a candidate for the head coaching job, but Brown seemed open to working under Cutcliffe.
“I love David,” said Brown, who worked with Cutcliffe on UT’s staff in 1993-94. “David is a good coach.”
Former head coach Phillip Fulmer released a statement today who called for UT to hire a coach that displayed integrity and embraced UT’s traditions. Fulmer, who coached with Cutcliffe at UT, told the News Sentinel that he would endorse Cutcliffe’s hiring.
“He’s the kind of person I described earlier in my release,” Fulmer said. “The type of person and coach that I thought the team needed and he fits those parameters to a tee.”
Cutcliffe has let loyalty to his assistants affect his career decisions in the past. He was fired by Ole Miss in 2004 after he refused to replace some of the coaches on his staff.
Austin Ward contributed to this report.
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