Florida hires Duke's Roper

Dec. 26, 2013 @ 09:53 AM

The University of Florida announced Thursday morning that Duke’s Kurt Roper has been hired as its new offensive coordinator.

Duke’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the last six seasons, Roper interviewed with the Gators on Monday and agreed to accept the position on Christmas Eve.

He will remain coaching on Duke’s staff through the No. 22 Blue Devils’ Chick-fil-A Bowl game against No. 20 Texas A&M on Dec. 31 and start with Florida in January.

“I'm excited to have coach Roper join our staff,” Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. “He has a diverse, up-tempo background on offense and does a good job of adapting to what the players do best. The most important thing though, is he has always remained balanced. He has had success calling plays in the SEC and has tutored three NFL quarterbacks. He has had players produce at every offensive position and he is one of the most well-respected coaches in the country."

Roper will replace Brent Pease, who was fired on Dec. 1 after the Gators went 4-8 for their first losing season since 1979. Muschamp also fired offensive line coach Tim Davis.

After showing some interest in Southern California interim head coach Clay Helton, Florida moved on to Roper after Helton was retained by USC as an assistant.

Roper and Duke coach David Cutcliffe have worked together for most of the last 17 years at Tennessee, Mississippi and Duke. The only season they weren’t on a staff together over that time was in 2005 when Roper was Kentucky’s quarterbacks’ coach.

The two Duke starting quarterbacks who completed their eligibility under Roper and Cutcliffe, Sean Renfree (Atlanta Falcons) and Thaddeus Lewis (Buffalo Bills), are now in the NFL.

Roper was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach, this season after helping Duke set a school record for wins (10) while averaging 31.6 points per game.

Duke quarterbacks Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette combined for 3,045 passing yards and 23 touchdowns this season, while first team All-ACC wide receiver Jamison Crowder set school records with 96 catches for 1,197 yards with seven touchdowns.

The Blue Devils arrived in Atlanta Christmas night and resumed practicing for the Chick-fil-A Bowl this morning with Roper still working with them.