Chattanooga head football coach Russ Huesman announced the hiring of Jeff Durden as the Mocs’ new offensive coordinator on Tuesday, pending final approval by from the University later this week.
“I’ve offered him the job, and he’s accepted it,” Huesman said. “It has to go through Human Services first and he has to be approved by the university. Nothing is official right now, but hopefully everything goes smooth and we’ll be good to go.”
Durden, a native of Dublin, Ga., spent the last nine seasons as offensive coordinator at James Madison University before being let go in December, and helped lead the Dukes to the 2004 FCS National Championship.
“I coached against Jeff when I was at Richmond and always liked what they did offensively,” Huesman said. “His teams were always well coached and hard to defend. Jeff’s approach is in line with what we’re trying to do here, and I think it will be a smooth transition for both our coaches and players.”
Durden, known for running the spread offense, will replace former Mocs offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, who left for Temple University in Philadelphia in late December.
“As soon as the job opened up, his name popped right into my head immediately,” Huesman said. “I still wanted to make sure it was the right fit, and I interviewed him and some others. He felt like the best candidate.”
In nine seasons at JMU, Durden’s offenses ranked in the FCS top-20 in rushing offense eight times, while the Dukes racked up an average of 400 yards of total offense in four of those years. His squads averaged more than 28 points per game six times.
In 2008, the Dukes had one of the top offenses in the country, ranking second in the FCS in scoring offense (38.1 ppg), No. 4 in rushing offense (282.8 ypg) and 22nd in total offense (401.4 ypg). JMU captured the Colonial Athletic Association title in 2008, finishing with a a 12-2 record – 8-0 in conference play – while quarterback Rocky Landers was selected as the CAA Player of the Year.
Landers, the 2008 Walter Payton Award runner-up, was a second-team All-CAA selection in 2007, and set a JMU single-season record with 2,951 yards of total offense. He broke his own record in 2008 with 3,304 yards, and also established new records in touchdown passes (21), rushing yards (1,770) and total touchdowns (37).
Huesman expects the deal to be finalized in the next couple of days, and hopes Durden can arrives on campus as early as Sunday.
“We haven’t gotten (the team) together as a group yet,” said Huesman, who, along with the rest of the Mocs’ staff, is on the road recruiting. “I’m sure the word has started trickling down.”
Prior to arriving at James Madison, Durden worked as an assistant coach at Virginia Military Institute (1999-2003). He served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Keydets in his final two seasons in Lexington, Va.
Durden has also served as offensive coordinator at Morehead State (1995-98), where in 1997 the Eagles led the FCS in scoring offense and was second in total offense. The 48-year-old has also made coaching stops at Division II schools California (Pa.) and West Georgia, as well as NAIA Georgetown (Ky.).
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.