GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- University of Florida head coach Will Muschamp announced Thursday morning that Kurt Roper will lead the Gators' offense for the 2014 season. Roper, who was the Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach at Duke in 2013, will serve as UF's Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach beginning in January.
"I'm excited to have Coach Roper join our staff," said Muschamp. "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."
An 18-year coaching veteran, Roper spent six seasons as the offensive coordinator at Duke and has 14 years of experience coaching the quarterback position, including working with NFL quarterbacks Eli Manning (N.Y. Giants), Sean Renfree (Atlanta Falcons) and Thaddeus Lewis (Buffalo Bills).
Roper has guided three quarterbacks to 3,000-yard passing seasons (five total 3,000-yard seasons). In his six seasons at Duke, he has had four 1,000-yard receivers and three 3,000-yard passers. He also coached running back Arian Foster at Tennessee to a 1,000-yard rushing season in 2007.
A vital piece of Duke's 2013 record-setting season, Roper helped lead the Blue Devils to a school-record 10 wins and the ACC's Coastal Division title. Duke will face Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 in Atlanta. Duke set school records for total touchdowns (54) while becoming the first team in school history to rush for 20+ and pass for 20+ touchdowns.
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. A pair of Duke running backs each rushed for over 500 yards while Connette became the school's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (30 in his career). Roper was a finalist this past year for the prestigious Broyles Award, recognizing the nation's top assistant coach.
In 2012, Roper directed the Duke offense to a school single-season record 410 points and 31.5 points per game, marking the fifth-highest average in school history. All-ACC wide receivers Crowder (76 receptions, 1,074 yards, 8 touchdowns) and Conner Vernon (85-1,074-8) established a conference record for most combined catches while becoming just the second pair in league history to post over 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
Renfree threw for over 3,000 yards twice in his career under Roper and finished his career ranked among the ACC's all-time leaders in passing yardage (7th; 9,465), pass completions (3rd; 898), 300-yard passing games (t4th; 11) and completion percentage (6th; .647).
In 2008-09, Roper directed two-time All-ACC quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who finished his career as the school's all-time leader in pass attempts (1,510), pass completions (877), passing yards (10,065) and passing touchdowns (67). One of just three players in ACC history to throw for more than 10,000 yards in a career, Lewis led the ACC in total offense in 2009 while throwing for 3,330 yards and 20 TDs.
Roper spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons at Tennessee, where he coached the running backs. The Vols produced 19 wins in two years with one SEC Eastern Division crown. Tennessee's rushing attack in 2007 was led by Foster, who gained 1,193 yards on 245 carries while scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground. Foster went on to lead the NFL in rushing in 2010 and earn an invitation to the 2011 Pro Bowl.
Prior to his time at Tennessee, Roper spent one season at Kentucky (2005) and coached quarterbacks for six seasons at Ole Miss. The Rebels went 44-29 with four bowl game victories. Ole Miss enjoyed one of its finest seasons in school history in 2003, when the Rebels went 10-3, captured a share of the SEC Western Division title and defeated Oklahoma State, 31-28, in the Cotton Bowl. The 2003 Ole Miss team also defeated UF in Gainesville, 20-17.
While with Ole Miss, Roper coached the quarterbacks all six years and added the responsibility of passing game coordinator for his final three seasons. Among his pupils was record-setting, All-America signal-caller Eli Manning, the 2003 SEC Player of the Year who was the number one overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.