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Fulmer Won't Return To Tennessee; Will Cutcliffe?

Head coach Philip Fulmer will not return to Tennessee next season, which means that there will likely be lots of speculation until a replacement is found that first-year Duke head coach David Cutcliffe could return to the program he helped coach for 18 seasons.

Two weeks ago, Cutcliffe told The News & Observer that he was committed to finishing his contract at Duke, but added that he was told never to discuss the specifics of his contract. Because Duke is a private university, it does not have to release contract details.

Cutcliffe has insisted over and over since December that he is at Duke for the long haul--a sentiment he repeated Sunday.

"We're not just trying to have a good team," he said. "That's what people don't understand. We're going to build a football program, and these guys are building the groundwork."

Cutcliffe started as a part-time coach at Tennessee, was promoted to assistant coach, then quarterbacks coach, then offensive coordinator, a position he reprised after a head coaching stint at Ole Miss. He lived in Knoxville, Tenn. in between coaching gigs, but his family now resides in Durham.

UPDATE: Cutcliffe released a statement around 6:45 p.m. Monday night. He did not address the open position, only choosing to hail Fulmer. Art Chase, Duke's sports information director, said Cutcliffe would address the situation tomorrow at his weekly media luncheon.

"Obviously this is a very personal situation that happened today," the statement read. "Phillip Fulmer is one of the best friends I have in this world. I am saddened to see the end of a great era in college football. Not only is Phillip a great person, he is the best football coach I've ever been associated with. His work ethic, attention to detail and recruiting efforts were lessons for all of us who were fortunate enough to work alongside him. I wish Phillip and his family the best as they move forward."

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