Would You Rather Be the Football Coach at Tennessee or Duke?

Would You Rather Be the Football Coach at Tennessee or Duke?


Would You Rather Be the Football Coach at Tennessee or Duke?

Here’s David Cutcliffe:

  • 63 years old
  • $2.6 million salary
  • Regularly going to bowl games at Duke

Cutcliffe was of interest to Tennessee because Tennessee is looking for one of its own, and Cutcliffe coached there as an assistant from 1982-1998, then again from 2006-07. He’s had a good run at Duke, which he took over in 2007. The Blue Devils have averaged 7.5 wins over the last five years, and Cutcliffe was named coach of the year by several prominent sporting publications in 2013.

He’s a great candidate for Tennessee, it just turns out Tennessee isn’t a great candidate for him.

That’s a perfectly reasonable explanation from a 63-year-old football coach who is having a good run at a place he likes. But still: How many moments in football history have there been in which the coach at Duke would turn down Tennessee?

This whole episode with Tennessee is an extraordinary moment in college football history. And if David Cutcliffe is like most of the other 63-year-old football coaches I know, he’s not about to put himself into any situation where Twitter politics are a deciding factor.

Twitter is a dumb animal which can easily be ignored by those who choose to ignore it. If you’re one of those — as I imagine David Cutcliffe is — you may not want to work for someone who isn’t.

Tennessee was paying Butch Jones $4.1 million a year, and I’d find it awfully hard to turn down a job (theoretically) offering that much of a raise, much less one that came along with prestige and personal nostalgia. But that’s the perspective of a thirty-something sportswriter, not a sixty-something coach who’s been making a lot of money for a really long time and wants for neither money nor validation.

That’s gotta sting for Tennessee, though.

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