Duke Blue Devils Coaching Staff 2023

    After a successful first season at Duke, head coach Mike Elko leads a coaching staff that saw a 9-4 record in 2022 and looking for more success in the ACC in 2023.

    The Duke Blue Devils enter the second season in the Mike Elko era after a strong 2022 season. Duke finished with a 9-4 record, winning the Military Bowl against UCF 30-13. With some changes made to the defensive coaching staff, the coaching staff appears to be at full strength and ready for a strong 2023 campaign.

    Duke Blue Devils Coaching Staff

    Head Coach, Mike Elko

    Elko’s first season at Duke went about as well as it could have gone, with a 9-4 record in his first season. Elko was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2022 as his team picked up five wins in the conference, finishing tied for second in the Coastal Division.

    Defense is Elko’s background, as prior to the Duke job, he was the defensive coordinator for the Texas A&M Aggies from 2018 until 2021. His Texas A&M defensive units never finished less than 34th in the country and their best season saw them rank ninth in total defense.

    He had a stop as defensive coordinator for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish working for the school in 2017. Notre Dame was ranked 46th in total defense that season. His other Power Five stop came at Wake Forest, leading their defense from 2014 until 2016.

    Elko also had defensive coordinator stops at Bowling Green, Hofstra, Fordham, and Merchant Marine. His coaching days date back as far back as 1999, when he started at Stony Brook.

    Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, Kevin Johns

    Kevin Johns joined the staff in 2022 as Elko brought him in as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Duke. Riley Leonard shined at quarterback last season, finishing third in the conference in total offensive yards per game (282) and had All-ACC honors. Johns helped the offense go from last in the ACC to fifth in scoring offense.

    Prior to Duke, Johns was the offensive coordinator for Memphis for three seasons starting in 2019 through 2021. His offense finished second in the AAC in passing offense (298.8) and third in offensive yards (435.8) in 2021.

    He also had offensive coordinator stops at Indiana, Western Michigan, and Texas Tech from 2011 until 2018. His offense at Texas Tech was ranked fourth in the country in passing yards per game with 352.6 yards per game.

    In 2017, Western Michigan ranked 25th in points per game (33.9) and 21st in rushing yards per game with 224.8. At Indiana in 2015, he led the best scoring offense in the Big Ten as they averaged 36.5 points per game.

    • Northwestern (Graduate Assistant, 1999-2001)
    • Richmond (Wide Receiver Coach, 2002-2003)
    • Northwestern (Running Backs Coach, 2004-2005)
    • Northwestern (Wide Receivers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, 2006-2007)
    • Northwestern (Wide Receivers Coach/Passing Game Coordinator, 2008-2010)
    • Indiana (Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach, 2011)
    • Indiana (Co-Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach/Wide Receivers Coach, 2012-2013)
    • Indiana (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach/Wide Receivers Coach, 2014-2016)
    • Western Michigan (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, 2017)
    • Texas Tech (Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach, 2018)
    • Memphis (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, 2019-2021)

    Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach, Tyler Santucci

    Tyler Santucci enters his first season as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Duke Blue Devils. He was previously the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Texas A&M, being with the school for three seasons. Both Santucci and Elko were at Texas A&M at the same time on the same defensive staff.

    During his time at Texas A&M, he helped the defense have the third-best scoring defense in the country with 15.92 points per game. In 2022, the Aggies’ defense led the SEC in total defense with 317.3.

    He was also the linebackers coach at Wake Forest in 2019. He was also a defensive analyst at Texas A&M in his first stint with the team and at Notre Dame between 2017 and 2018. Santucci also coached at Texas State and Stony Brook, helping their defenses.

    • Stony Brook (Graduate Assistant/Linebackers/Safeties/Defensive Line Coach, 2010-2013)
    • Wake Forest (Graduate Assistant/Defensive Line/Linebackers Coach, 2014-2015)
    • Texas State (Linebackers Coach, 2016)
    • Notre Dame (Defensive Analyst, 2017)
    • Texas A&M (Defensive Analyst, 2018)
    • Wake Forest (Linebackers Coach, 2019)
    • Texas A&M (Linebackers Coach, 2020-2021)
    • Texas A&M (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach, 2022)

    Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties, Lyle Hemphill

    Lyle Hemphill joined the Duke program last year starting as a safeties coach for the Blue Devils. After the season, he was promoted to co-defensive coordinator to run the defense with Santucci.

    Prior to Duke, Hemphill coached at Wake Forest, starting with coaching the safeties in 2017 before getting promoted to defensive coordinator in 2019, holding that position for three additional years. He was also defensive coordinator at Stony Brook from 2013 through 2016.

    Hemphill and Elko have a history together as they worked together at Hofstra on the same defensive staff as Hemphill served on the staff from 2006 through 2009. Delaware Valley and Delaware was the beginning of Hemphill’s career prior to his start at Hofstra.

    • Delaware Valley (Defensive Backs/Special Teams, 2002-2003)
    • Delaware (Graduate Assistant/Secondary, 2004-2005)
    • Hofstra (Special Teams/Defensive Backs, 2006-2009)
    • Delaware (Cornerbacks, 2010)
    • Stony Brook (Safeties, 2011-2012)
    • Stony Brook (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties, 2013-2016)
    • Wake Forest (Safeties, 2017-2018)
    • Wake Forest (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties, 2019-2021)

    Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach, Patrick Dougherty

    This is Patrick Dougherty’s second season with the Duke Blue Devils, coaching their special teams as the coordinator and coaching the tight ends. Last season, Dougherty’s unit led the country in punt return average (19.92) and was 21st in kickoff return defense (17.19). Two players on special teams were named as All-ACC honors.

    Dougherty spent the previous eight seasons at Ball State, where he started as a graduate assistant for the offensive line in 2012. Eventually, he was promoted to tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator in 2014 and 2015. He received another promotion, this time to special teams coordinator in 2016, where he served until 2019.

    Other schools he coached at include Northwestern, Lindsey Wilson College, and Defiance College, spanning from 2008 through 2013.

    Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach, Jess Simpson

    Jess Simpson enters his second season with Duke serving as their associate head coach and defensive line coach. Simpson was a head coach in high school in the past, winning seven state titles in 12 years as a head coach. His previous stop before Duke was Miami, where he was assistant head coach and defensive line coach for the Hurricanes.

    Associate Head Coach/Running Backs Coach, Trooper Taylor

    Trooper Taylor is one of the more experienced coaches on the Duke staff, having been with the program since 2019, serving as associate head coach and running backs coach. He started at Duke as the wide receivers coach in 2019 and 2020 before moving over to cornerbacks in 2021. His other stops include Auburn, Baylor, Tennessee, Tulane, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, and Arkansas State.

    Cornerbacks Coach, Ishmael Aristide

    Ishmael Aristide joined Duke in 2022 to coach their cornerbacks for the program. Both Aristide and Elko coached together at Texas A&M in 2019 and 2020. Aristide’s secondary last season was fourth in the ACC in pass breakups with 59. He also coached at Ole Miss and Auburn starting in 2016.

    Defensive Ends Coach, Harland Bower

    Harland Bower joined the team prior to the 2022 season to coach their defensive ends. Elko was Bower’s defensive coordinator at Texas A&M when both served on the coaching staff at College Station. Bower also coached at South Alabama, Notre Dame, Central Arkansas, Troy, Rutgers, Murray State, and Georgia Military College, with his first coaching year in 2010.

    Pass Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach, Zohn Burden

    This is Zohn Burden’s second season with Duke after joining the program last year to be their pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach. His receiver, Jalon Calhoun, was All-ACC, leading the team with 62 catches for 873 yards and four touchdowns in 2022. His previous experience includes Maryland, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, Richmond, and Fork Union Military Academy.

    Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach, Adam Cushing

    Adam Cushing is entering his third season with Duke after joining the program in 2021 as the run game coordinator and offensive line coach. Two of his offensive linemen were All-ACC honors in 2021. He also coached at Eastern Illinois, Northwestern, and La Verne.

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