published Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Jeff Durden accepts UTC Mocs offensive coordinator job offer

Jeff Durden is the new offensive coordinator for the UTC Mocs.
Jeff Durden is the new offensive coordinator for the UTC Mocs.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Jeff Durden

Position: UTC offensive coordinator

Age: 48

Hometown: Dublin, Ga.

Experience: Durden spent the past nine seasons as the offensive coordinator at James Madison. Prior to that, he coached at the Virginia Military Institute for five years. Other stops include Morehead State and West Georgia.

Highlights: In his first season at JMU, the Dukes won the 2004 FCS national championship (at Finley Stadium, no less). In 2008, the Dukes had one of the top offenses in the country and quarterback Rodney Landers was the runner-up for the Walter Payton Award.

The last time Jeff Durden coached in Chattanooga, he helped James Madison win a national championship in 2004 as the Dukes' offensive coordinator.

Now Durden's job is to guide the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offense and help the Mocs win a championship of their own. Coach Russ Huesman has offered the offensive coordinator job to Durden and he has accepted, but the hiring won't be official until later this week, after it is approved by the university.

A veteran of the spread offense, Durden will take over for Marcus Satterfield, who left UTC after four seasons for a job at Temple University in Philadelphia.

"His philosophy is pretty similar to what we've done, and I thought it would be a pretty smooth transition, not only with our staff but also with our offensive football team," Huesman said Monday. "Obviously the terminology will be different and how we do things, but I think the concepts of what they've done at James Madison for a while now kind of fits what we're looking for.

"He's a good coach, he's someone I've known a long time and I'm excited to have him."

Durden was fired by JMU coach Mickey Matthews in December following a 7-4 season in which the Dukes failed to make the NCAA FCS playoffs for the third time in four years.

In 2004, Durden's first season at JMU, the Dukes beat Montana 31-21 at Finley Stadium to win the school's first FCS (then I-AA) national championship. In 2008, James Madison won the Colonial Athletic Association and reached the semifinals of the playoffs.

Huesman interviewed five candidates for the position. He was familiar with Durden from his years coaching against him when Huesman was the defensive coordinator at Richmond.

"I just thought the fit with Jeff was the best, in all aspects," Huesman said.

Durden's offense flourished at JMU when he had a good quarterback. With Rodney Landers leading the way in 2008 -- he was the CAA player of the year and finished second in the Walter Payton Award voting -- JMU's offense led the CAA in scoring (38.1 points per game) and rushing (282.8 yards pg) and was second in total offense (401.4 ypg).

JMU's offense was more middle-of-the-pack during the next few seasons. In 2012, the Dukes were sixth in the CAA in total offense (391.5 ypg) and scoring (28.8 ppg).

"If you're going to run this offense, you better have a couple of pretty good dudes," Huesman said.

The Mocs, who have a pair of productive quarterbacks in Jacob Huesman and Terrell Robinson, switched to the spread in 2012 and averaged 25.5 points and 349.8 yards per game.

With national signing day (Feb. 6) fast approaching, Huesman said Durden will be involved in the final weeks of recruiting. "Not to find people," Huesman said, but most likely to get to know the Mocs' offensive commitments and the players UTC still is pursuing.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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