- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton continued to work toward having a coach in place by this weekend, and one of the candidates the Vols are zeroing in on now is Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who is a former Tennessee offensive coordinator.
Sources told ESPN.com that Cutcliffe has talked with Tennessee officials, although he's not the only candidate the Vols are considering.
Lane Kiffin left Tennessee to take the USC job Tuesday evening after only one season in Knoxville.
Air Force's Troy Calhoun was on Tennessee's list, but the coach released a statement through the university Thursday that read, "We look forward to coaching and being a part of the Air Force Academy team both on and off the field in 2010." Calhoun was one of the Vols' finalists when Kiffin was hired.
Tennessee made a hard push for Muschamp and made it clear that money wasn't an issue. But in the end, Muschamp believed it was best for him to stay at Texas, where he's already contractually in line to replace Mack Brown when Brown retires.
"I'm happy at Texas and plan to be here for a long time," Muschamp said in a statement issued through a school spokesperson Wednesday night.
At the time, Muschamp did not rule out the possibility of leaving Austin for Knoxville, but sources told ESPN.com on Thursday that the Vols had indeed turned their attention away from Muschamp and were focusing on other candidates.
With the recruiting period going live again on Sunday, the Vols are working feverishly to have a new coach in place by then.
Kippy Brown, in his third stint at Tennessee, has been named the Vols' interim coach. Brown on Wednesday said he's been told that he also would be considered for the permanent head-coaching job.
Chris Low covers the SEC for ESPN.com
4dBrian Bennett and Josh Moyer