Category Archives: Duke Football

Duke, Elko Name Johns OC

Duke football has a new offensive coordinator as Kevin John's is expected to be added to the staff today.

Multiple sources say that Memphis Kevin Johns will be named as the Blue Devils' offensive coordinator.

Johns has worked in the Big Ten at Indiana University to his most recent three-year run for the Memphis Tigers.

His Wiki page already has him headed to Duke. The official word should follow in the foreseeable future from Duke.

Elko Adds Hemphill to Staff

DURHAM – Duke head football coach Mike Elko announced Sunday that Lyle Hemphill will join the Blue Devil gridiron program and serve as an assistant coach. Hemphill will coach Duke's safeties.
Hemphill's appointment is the first staff transaction made by Elko, who was named Duke's 22nd head football coach back on December 10.
Hemphill and Elko served on the defensive staff together for three seasons at Hofstra University from 2006-08, helping the Pride to a three-year ledger of 13-21 and a ranking of fourth in the nation in pass defense in 2008. Hemphill coached the secondary and special teams units during his time in Hempstead, N.Y.
For the last five seasons, Hemphill served on Dave Clawson's staff at Wake Forest, mentoring the safeties before being elevated to defensive coordinator at the conclusion of the 2018 season. Over the past three years as the defensive coordinator, Hemphill has helped lead the Demon Deacons to three consecutive bowl appearances. Wake Forest was also one of just three FBS schools with 13 or more interceptions during that three-year stretch.
Under Hemphill's guidance in 2021, Wake Forest was tied for fifth in the nation with 27 turnovers gained on the season and sixth in the ACC in pass defense, allowing just 221.85 yards per game. He also helped the Demon Deacons to a 10-3 ledger, including a perfect 6-0 mark at home.
Wake Forest had its highest turnover margin in the Clawson era with a +10 margin during the 2020 season. The Demon Deacons were one of just seven FBS schools to post a +10 or better margin in the country, tying for fourth in that category. Of Wake Forest's 13 interceptions that season, four came from freshman walk-on safety Nick Andersen, who was tied for eighth nationally and tied for first in the ACC.
The 2019 Wake Forest defense finished 16th in the nation in third down defense, which was a program best. The Demon Deacons also ended the season 15th in fumbles recovered and 17th in passes intercepted among all FBS schools. During that season, Hemphill helped mentor Carlos "Boogie" Basham Jr. to one of the best single-seasons for an edge defender in school history. He was the ACC leader with 18.0 tackles for loss and tied for 14th nationally with 11.0 sacks.
During his tenure in Winston-Salem, Hemphill coached 14 defensive players to 17 All-ACC recognition, including safety Jessie Bates III and Basham Jr. Bates, who was taken in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, was an honorable mention All-ACC pick in 2017 and finished his career third in school history with 195 interception return yards. Basham Jr., who was taken in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, finished his four-year career with 20.5 sacks (fourth most in school history), 173 tackles, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Prior to Wake Forest, Hemphill spent six seasons (2011-16) at Stony Brook, where he served as the safeties coach before adding defensive coordinator duties his final four years. The 2015 FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year by, helped direct one of the FCS' top defenses in the country. During his last three seasons, the Seawolves finished in the top three nationally in total defense, including leading the country in 2015, allowing just 250.1 yards per game. Under Hemphill's guidance, seven Seawolves earned all-conference honors, including Davonte Anderson and Victor Ochi, who became the Stony Brook's Division I career leader in interceptions and sacks, respectively.

Prior to his time with the Seawolves, Hemphill had a second stint at Delaware for the 2010 season, where he served as the cornerbacks coach. He also served on Blue Hens' staff from 2004-05 as a graduate assistant, working primarily with the secondary. In 2010, he helped the Blue Hens get back to the FCS Championship Game, as Delaware finished the season with a 12-3 record including six top-25 wins. During his first stint, Hemphill helped guide the Blue Hens to a DI-AA quarterfinal appearance.
From 2006-09, he worked with the defensive backs and special teams unit at Hofstra. While with the Pride, Hemphill helped the secondary rank fourth in the FCS in pass defense, allowing just 136.92 yards per outing, and second in the CAA in 2007 in interceptions with 13. He also saw defensive back Kyle Arrington sign with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent at the conclusion of the 2008 season.
His coaching career started at Delaware Valley University in 2002, where he coached defensive backs and special teams.
A 2002 graduate of Ursinus College with a bachelor's degree in politics, Hemphill was a four-year letterman at strong safety and wrestled one season for the Bears. He went on to earn a master's degree in education administration from Delaware in 2005. After graduating from college, he was a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at his alma mater, St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington, Del.
Hemphill is married to the former Christen Gardner of Philadelphia, and they are the parents of four children, Izabella, Lyla, Georgia and Olivia. His father, Joe, is one of the most successful football coaches in Delaware high school history, coaching at St. Elizabeth from 1972-2013.  
Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware
Education: Ursinus, 2002 (politics) and Delaware, 2005 (education administration)
Wife: Christen
Children: Izabella, Lyla, Georgia and Olivia
Birthday: Jan. 10 1980

  • 2022-pres. – Duke (Safeties)
  • 2019-21 – Wake Forest (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
  • 2017-18 – Wake Forest (Safeties)
  • 2013-16 – Stony Brook (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
  • 2011-12 – Stony Brook (Safeties)
  • 2010 – Delaware (Cornerbacks)
  • 2006-09 – Hofstra (Special Teams/Defensive Backs)
  • 2004-05 – Delaware (Graduate Assistant/Secondary)
  • 2002-03 – Delaware Valley (Defensive Backs/Special Teams)

Random Thoughts on Mike Elko Hire

Duke University will formally introduce the new head football coach, Mike Elko, to the media tomorrow. Here are some random thoughts and observations on his hiring.

  • Texas A&M had an incredible defense under his leadership as did Notre Dame. The last time Duke had a defensive-minded head coach was the Mike McGee era. Some may argue Ted Roof, but he had limited success on that side of the ball while in Durham.
  • Elko was a well-liked and successful coach at his most recent jobs with Texas A&M and Notre Dame. In searching the web, it is clear that most of the comments about his departure from each school were highly positive. In fact, many fans were upset at losing his coaching ability but were understanding of him moving on.
  • His ties to Wake Forest give him a good idea of what ACC football is about. He also coached quite a bit under the current Deacon HC Dave Clawson.
  • People will pay close attention to who he hires as offensive coordinator. The offense became stale in the last three years under then-coach David Cutcliffe and the fanbase is looking for the schemes to be blown up and start fresh.
  • Elko will at some point talk with the current staff in-depth where he either retains some or moves on with his personnel.
  • Wednesday is the early signing period but there is time to possibly add some newcomers as well as see some open their recruitments back up.
  • Duke is almost forced to work the transfer market due to departures. This is not an easy task at Duke due to academic standards. Duke needs help at running back, a playmaker at wideout, the center spot, some pass rushers up front on defense and a couple of secondary guys. That is a pretty long list.
  • Elko has a son that recently signed an LOI to attend Northwestern on a baseball scholarship. One cannot help but wonder if they realize what a great program Duke has and if he may end up in Durham one day.
  • I noticed some fans putting themself into Nina King's timeline towards the end of the Cut-era. Firstly, that is never a great idea and secondly, she has now hired Jon Scheyer and Mike Elko from an SEC powerhouse, so those who were worrying should take notice.
  • Mike Elko was born in New Jersey and attended an Ivy League school in Penn where he later coached. Duke has not been recruiting the northeast in the past decade, so it will be interesting if he opens things up again.
  • I wonder if he will try to recruit in the state of North Carolina a bit more. This is something I have always felt was important despite the difficulties. Cutcliffe got away from it a bit despite having the most success when more kids from the state were rostered.
  • I think Duke did well hiring Elko. He didn't come here to lose, folks. He did not come here to end his career taking on a tough rebuilding situation. He knows what needs to happen for success to take place and he must be allowed some patience as the cupboard is not stocked quite yet.
  • Elko will start his career versus Temple on September 3rd on Brooks Field in Wallace Wade Stadium. Kickoff times will be announced at a later date. Duke will also travel to Big Ten country to take on Northwestern and at Kansas next September with one more out of conference game to be added to the schedule.
  • The one thing we will all hear tomorrow is his vision for Duke football. Considering I have been around since Tom Harp to now, it will be interesting to see another era get underway in Durham.

Mike Elko Lands Duke Job

Duke Football has a new coach and his name is Mike Elko, the now-former Texas A&M defensive coordinator, Mike Elko. More to come.

DURHAM – Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King announced Friday that Mike Elko has been named Duke University's 22nd head football coach.
Details regarding Elko's introductory press conference will be forthcoming.
The defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Texas A&M University for the past four seasons, Elko succeeds David Cutcliffe, who held the position for 14 years.
"We are absolutely thrilled to announce Mike Elko as our next head football coach," King said. "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!"
In Elko's 23 years of coaching, 18 have been spent as a defensive coordinator, including eight at the FBS Power 5 level. He has twice been named a semifinalist for the Frank Broyles Award (2017 and 2021), which is given annually to the top assistant coach in college football.
"I am delighted to welcome Mike Elko to Duke as our next head football coach," Duke President Vincent E. Price said. "We look forward to his leadership and vision on the field and his commitment to the highest standards of academic success. We could not be more excited to have Mike on our team as a teacher and mentor for our student athletes."
Elko, 44, has coached in eight bowl games, helped two different teams to NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinal appearances and been part of four league championship squads. Serving as the defensive coordinator, Elko's bowl games include the 2009 Humanitarian, 2012 Military, 2013 Little Caesars, 2016 Military, 2017 Citrus, 2018 Gator, 2019 Texas, and the 2020 Orange bowl.
"I want to thank Nina King and President Price for this great opportunity," Elko said. "Duke stands for excellence. The university has excelled in everything they've ever tried to do, whether that'd be in academics or athletics. I'm excited to get to work."
During his time in College Station under head coach Jimbo Fisher, Elko helped lead the Aggies to a 34-14 (.708) record and four consecutive bowl games.
In his final season, Elko mentored the group to the No. 3 national ranking in scoring defense, allowing just 15.92 points per game, as well as the No. 9 pass efficiency defense (112.00) and No. 7 red zone defense (.710). Texas A&M also ranked seventh in the country by allowing just 4.66 yards per play, tied for 10th in fourth down defense (.353), tied for 12th in total sacks (39.0) and defensive touchdowns (3), 16th in third down defense (.328) and 20th in total defense (327.5).
Prior to his time with the Aggies, Elko spent one season at the University of Notre Dame with head coach Brian Kelly where he helped the defense rank in the top half nationally in four major defensive categories. The Irish were 10-3 during his lone season in South Bend, including a 21-17 win over LSU in the 2017 Citrus Bowl. Notre Dame's unit showed marked improvement in total defense under Elko with an average of 369.2 yards allowed per game. Additionally, the Irish improved at least 20 spots in the national rankings in rushing defense (72nd to 51st), pass efficiency defense (79th to 46th), scoring defense (62nd to 31st), third down defense (60th to 37th), turnovers gained (104th to 50th), sacks (117th to 82nd) and tackles for loss (102nd to 58th).
Elko served three seasons (2014-16) at Wake Forest University as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach for head coach Dave Clawson. His 2016 unit ranked in the top-20 nationally in fumbles recovered (3rd), turnovers forced (10th), sacks (12th), defensive TDs (17th), red zone defense (17th) and scoring defense (20th). That year, the Demon Deacons were one of the four schools in the FBS to rank in the top-20 in turnovers forced, sacks and scoring defense. The three other programs qualified for the College Football Playoff that season (Alabama, Clemson and Washington).
In 2015, the Wake Forest defense ranked 38th in the nation, allowing just 363.8 yards per game. The Demon Deacons also ranked among the national leaders in red zone defense and pass defense efficiency. A year earlier, Wake Forest finished 12th nationally in passing yards allowed and was a top-40 team in total defense. The unit finished with five defensive players earning All-ACC honors.
During his stint in Winston-Salem, he mentored All-ACC and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up Jessie Bates III, who finished with 93 tackles and five interceptions in his career, including two that were returned for a touchdown in 2016.
Elko was also on Clawson's staff for five seasons (2009-13) as Bowling Green's defensive coordinator and linebackers (three seasons) and safeties (two seasons) coach. He helped the Falcons to three bowl game appearances and saw his unit finish first in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense and pass defense efficiency in each of his last two years. Over his five seasons as defensive coordinator, the Falcons forced 106 turnovers (1.7 per game) and held opponents to just a 35.9 percent conversion rate on third downs. In both 2012 and 2013, Bowling Green ranked in the top 10 in the nation in both total defense and scoring defense.

In 2012 alone, the Falcons held their opposition to under 100 yards rushing in nine contests and would end the season ranked 11th in sacks (38), 12th in rushing defense (106.5), 13th in pass defense efficiency (190.1) and fifth in first downs allowed (15.1).
Under Elko's guidance, Bowling Green had seven different players earn 14 All-MAC honors, including three-time recipients Chris Jones and Dwayne Woods. Jones would go on to be named a 2012 First Team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
Prior to Bowling Green, Elko was the defensive coordinator at Hofstra from 2006-08. He also served on Clawson's staffs at Richmond in 2004-05 and at Fordham in 2002-03.
In 2007 the Pride's defense ranked first in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and 11th in the FCS in rushing defense, second in the conference and 15th in the country in total defense, and fourth in the CAA and 37th in the FCS in scoring defense. With Fordham, Elko helped the 2002 team to a Patriot League title after a 10-3 season.

Elko's coaching experience also includes one-year stints at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (2001), where he served as defensive coordinator, and at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania (2000), directing the secondary. The Quakers won the 2000 Ivy League title during his lone season on staff. He began his coaching career at Stony Brook in 1999 where he guided the linebackers in the fall and the defensive backs in the spring.
A native of South Brunswick, N.J., Elko graduated from Penn with a bachelor's degree in history in 1999. As a safety, he helped the Quakers to the 1998 Ivy League crown.
Elko is married to the former Michelle Madison of Franklinville, N.J., and they are the parents of three children Michael, Andrew and Kaitlyn.
New customers interested in 2022 season tickets can guarantee your seat with a $50 deposit per ticket by clicking HERE or calling 919-681-BLUE (2583). Current season tickets holders will be contacted by the Duke Athletics Ticket Office after the new year with renewal options.
Hometown: South Brunswick, N.J.
Education: Penn, 1999 (History)
Wife: Michelle
Children: Michael, Andrew and Kaitlyn
Birthday: July 28, 1977

  • 2022 – Duke (Head Coach)
  • 2018-21 – Texas A&M (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
  • 2017 – Notre Dame (Defensive Coordinator)
  • 2014-16 – Wake Forest (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
  • 2012-13 – Bowling Green (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
  • 2009-11 – Bowling Green (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
  • 2008 – Hofstra (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
  • 2007 – Hofstra (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
  • 2006 – Hofstra (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs)
  • 2005 – Richmond (Special Teams/Recruiting Coordinator)
  • 2004 – Richmond (Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator)
  • 2003 – Fordham (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
  • 2002 – Fordham (Linebackers)
  • 2001 – U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs)
  • 2009 – Penn (Defensive Backs)
  • 1999 – Stony Brook (Graduate Assistant/Inside Linebackers)


  • 2021 – TaxSlayer Gator Bowl – Texas A&M#
  • 2020 – The Capital One Orange Bowl – Texas A&M^
  • 2019 – Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl – Texas A&M^
  • 2018 – TaxSlayer Gator Bowl – Texas A&M^
  • 2017 – Vrbo Citrus Bowl – Notre Dame^
  • 2016 – Military Bowl, presented by Northrop Grumman – Wake Forest^
  • 2013 – Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Bowling Green^
  • 2012 – Military Bowl, presented by Northrop Grumman – Bowling Green^
  • 2009 – Roady's Humanitarian Bowl – Bowling Green^
  • 2005 – NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinals (Richmond)
  • 2002 – NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinals (Fordham)

# will not coach in bowl game
^ indicates defensive coordinator

Duke And Cutcliffe Part Ways

DURHAM – Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King announced on Sunday the school and head football coach David Cutcliffe have reached a mutual agreement for separation.

"After some detailed and amiable discussions with Nina King, we've mutually decided that it is the right time for change in the leadership of Duke Football," Cutcliffe said. "Karen and I have loved our time in Durham. Duke University will always hold a special place in our hearts. To our current and former players please know how much joy you've brought to our lives. To all of our coaches and staff, many who have been with us for 14 years, you will always have our love and respect. I want to thank Dick Brodhead for the opportunity to come here. I'm very thankful for Kevin White and Nina and their leadership. I can't say enough about all the faithful alumni and friends that gave us an opportunity to build and win here. I'm not sure just yet what the future will look like, but I am looking forward to some family time to reflect a bit on the past and see what the future holds."

"We are extremely grateful for David's leadership over the past 14 seasons," King said. "He lifted our program to unprecedented heights, both on and off the field, while maintaining the core values of the University and we could not be more appreciative of his mentorship of every student-athlete who played for Duke during his tenure. David and Karen have been tremendous ambassadors of Duke University and the Durham community and we wish them, along with their family, all the best going forward."

Cutcliffe was named Duke's head coach on December 15, 2007, and took over a Blue Devil program that had won just eight total games in the previous five years. The two-time ACC Coach of the Year and the 2013 National Coach of the Year, Cutcliffe led Duke to 77 victories in 14 seasons with six bowl game appearances, three bowl victories and the 2013 ACC Coastal Division championship. 

The Cutcliffe Era at Duke included the program's first bowl victory since 1961, a pair of NFL first round draft picks in Laken Tomlinson (2014) and Daniel Jones (2019), an eight-game winning streak in 2013 to mark Duke's longest since 1941, and final national rankings in 2013 (22nd by USA Today/Coaches and 23rd by Associated Press) to mark Duke's first showing in a final poll since 1962.

Cutcliffe came to Duke after serving the previous two seasons as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. His head coaching experience includes a six-year stint at the University of Mississippi from 1999-2004 where he compiled a 44-29 (.603) ledger with five winning seasons, five bowl game appearances and a share of the SEC Western Division championship in 2003. Cutcliffe was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading the Rebels to a 10-3 record including a 31-28 victory over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

In his career, Cutcliffe has participated in 28 bowl games including the 1982 Peach, 1983 Florida Citrus, 1984 Sun, 1986 Sugar, 1986 Liberty, 1988 Peach, 1990 Cotton, 1991 Sugar, 1992 Fiesta, 1993 Hall of Fame, 1994 Florida Citrus, 1994 Gator, 1996 Florida Citrus, 1997 Florida Citrus, 1998 Orange, 1998 Independence, 1999 Independence, 2000 Music City, 2002 Independence, 2004 Cotton, 2007 Outback, 2008 Outback, 2012 Belk, 2013 Chick-fil-A, 2014 Hyundai Sun, 2015 New Era Pinstripe, 2017 Quick Lane and 2018 Walk-On's Independence. He owns a 7-4 record as a head coach in bowl tilts with wins over Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Indiana, Northern Illinois and Temple.

Trooper Taylor, Duke's Associate Head Coach and a member of the staff since 2019, will serve as the interim head coach.

GT at Duke Preview

The Duke Blue Devils ended their three game win streak with a blowout loss to North Carolina last week. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets had their own problems in a similar lop sided fashion.

These two teams were picked to round out the bottom of the Coastal Divison by pre-season prognostications, so this is both sides' best chance at an ACC win on their slate.

It was not that long ago that the Blue Devils had gained mastery in the series with Georgia Tech. Since that time, the Blue Devils have slowly given back all of that momentum as the program has been slipping.

It is hard to imagine that Duke, a 3.5 point underdog in this game will be favored in any contest as they close out the season. That is not a fun place to be with so many games left.

Make no mistake, a win this weekend would be huge for the Blue Devils. And I think they'll show up for this one after a lackluster performance a week ago. If they don't show up, then pencil the rest of the way in as hard to watch.

At this point, the Blue Devils have a lot of football left. What fans want to see is a team that plays with spirit and the purpose of getting better for the future. And believe me, showing those signs are important for recruiting and getting fannies in the stands.

I expect Duke to come out of the gates fast in this one, I just do not think they'll have enough to hang on. Georgia Tech 35 Duke 24