Mike Elko hired as next Duke football head coach

Duke football's new head coach will be looking to bring the Blue Devils back to prominence.
Duke football's new head coach will be looking to bring the Blue Devils back to prominence.

Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko will fill the head coaching vacancy for Duke football, as first reported by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports Friday evening and announced by the program minutes after.

Elko, 44, takes over following the mutual separation between the program and David Cutcliffe, who had led the Blue Devils since 2008. The defensive coordinator has 23 years of collegiate coaching experience as a defensive specialist, while his job at Duke is his first as a head coach.

"We are absolutely thrilled to announce Mike Elko as our next head football coach," athletic director Nina King said in the press release. "He has an innovative football mind and a natural ability to connect with both players and coaches around him. Mike has a proven track record of success and is deeply committed to the overall student-athlete experience. From our first conversations, I knew Mike, Michelle and their children would make phenomenal additions to the Duke family!"

Following his playing career as a safety at Penn, he bounced between several schools before joining current Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson at Fordham, Richmond, Bowling Green and then Wake Forest between 2002 and 2016. He served as defensive coordinator for Notre Dame in 2017 and was hired to his most recent job by Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher ahead of the 2018 season. 

With Elko on the sidelines, the Aggies had a record of 34-14, including three bowl victories. Texas A&M also finished with a top-three run defense in the country twice in his four years in College Station, Tex. 

Elko will have some work to do to help turn around the Duke program amid a rapidly shifting football landscape in the ACC and nationally. The Blue Devils have gone 1-17 in conference play over the last two years with a 5-18 record overall. He will inherit the seventh-ranked recruiting class in the conference for the 2022 season, according to 247sports.

Elko emerged as a contender for the Duke job fairly early in the nationwide search, as Duke reportedly chose him over former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett following the news former Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was heading to Virginia.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

Micah Hurewitz

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity senior and was previously a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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