Duke's Elko agrees to take head coaching job at Texas A&M, sources tell ESPN

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Monday, November 27, 2023
Duke coach Mike Elko leaving for Texas A&M job
Duke's Mike Elko agrees to take head coaching job at Texas A&M, sources tell ESPN

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Duke head coach Mike Elko, who turned around the Blue Devils' football program, could be headed back to Texas A&M.

Elko has reached a deal to be named as the Aggies' new head coach, replacing the fired Jimbo Fisher, sources told ESPN on Sunday.

Elko came to Duke from Texas A&M, where he was defensive coordinator. Elko was the coordinator for some of Texas A&M's best recent seasons, including the 9-1 season in 2020 that culminated with an Orange Bowl victory.

According to ESPN, Elko addressed the potential move with his Duke team at a team meeting on Sunday and told them some clarity would come in the next 24 hours. Sources told ESPN that a deal could be finalized as early as Sunday night.

Duke coach Mike Elko
Phelan M. Ebenhack

In two seasons with the Blue Devils, Elko, in his first shot as a head coach, guided Duke to a 16-9 record. He was hired at Duke in December 2021.

Duke went 9-4 in Elko's first season after he inherited a team that had gone 3-9 the year before.

In the three seasons before Elko arrived in Durham, Duke had gone just 10-25, including a disastrous 1-17 stretch in the Atlantic Coast Conference from 2020-2021.

This year, Elko established himself as a possible candidate for a higher-profile job when Duke opened the season with a 28-7 win at No. 9 Clemson. The Blue Devils began the season 4-0 before losing to Notre Dame at home, a game where star quarterback Riley Leonard got injured in the fourth quarter.

From there, Duke's trajectory changed and the team finished 7-5 and will be going to a bowl game for the second consecutive season.

Elko is a defensive coach by trade, and he's worked at places over the years -- Bowling Green, Wake Forest, Fordham -- where he's learned to maximize the resources available. He clearly did that at Duke, as the program had dipped under David Cutcliffe and he brought on a wholesale change without a significant personnel overhaul.

He takes over an A&M program that's struggled to maximize its monetary and talent resources. The school hasn't won a league title since 1998 and hasn't played in the conference title game since entering the SEC in 2012.

ESPN contributed to this report.