Kurt Roper to coach final game for Duke football

Wake Forest v Duke

Jon Gardiner/Duke Photography
Wake Forest v Duke Jon Gardiner/Duke Photography

After six years on the Duke sidelines, Florida announced Thursday that it had hired Kurt Roper, the Blue Devils' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, to the same position.

Roper will fulfill his duties for Duke one last time when the Blue Devils get set to take on Texas A&M Tuesday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

"It was the right situation for me and my family at the right time," Roper said. "It's obviously a great university that has a great tradition, and I'm looking forward to trying to add to that."

Roper has been a mainstay on the sidelines for Duke head coach David Cutcliffe throughout his coaching career. The pair coached together as assistants when Roper got his first coaching job at Tennessee in 1996, and have been nearly inseparable ever since, spending 16 of the last 17 seasons together.

"Kurt and I have been together a long time, and I'm very appreciative of all of his contributions—whether it was at Tennessee, at Ole Miss or here at Duke," Cutcliffe said. "I've known Kurt most of his adult life. He's been a very hard worker. He's been very loyal and we wish him luck as he gets to Florida."

The lone season the pair spent apart was in 2005. Roper took the quarterbacks coach job at Kentucky for one season and Cutcliffe was slated to hold the same position at Notre Dame before resigning due to his declining health.

Taking the Florida position gives Roper a chance to step out from under Cutcliffe's shadow and return to the SEC. The Gainesville Sun's reported salary of $600,000 for the position does not hurt, either.

Although Roper will have plenty of adjustments to make when he takes his new position, the future Gator offensive coordinator said he hasn't even done much studying on his new team yet.

"I know that Driskell is that quarterback and don't know much beyond that," Roper said.

Roper said that his next week will be spent concentrating on Duke's upcoming matchup with the Aggies, trying to leave the program with its first bowl victory in 52 years.

"I've got a week here that I need to focus on and be my best for these guys one last time," Roper said. "Then when I can get everything situated and get down to Gainesville then you start focusing on that when you can."


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