Duke football coaching staff adds Maryland’s Zohn Burden

Mike Elko waits to be introduced as Duke University's head football coach during a press conference at Pascal Field House in Durham on Monday, December 13, 2021.

Mike Elko waits to be introduced as Duke University’s head football coach during a press conference at Pascal Field House in Durham on Monday, December 13, 2021.

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Duke’s coaching staff on the offensive end, the ball is complete as the Blue Devils officially signed Zohn Burden from the Maryland staff on Saturday.

Burden, 37, will coach wide receivers and coordinate Duke’s passing game with new coach Mike Elko’s staff.

Prior to coaching wide receivers at Maryland, Burden served on the Virginia Tech staff in the ACC from 2015 to 2019 as wide receivers coach for one season and running backs coach for four more. In 2020, he did not coach college football, choosing instead to found and lead the GAME Academy, which provided football training to high school and college athletes in a safe environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A native of Virginia, Burden played college football at the Virginia Military Institute from 2002 to 2005. He also coached college in Richmond and Old Dominion.

Formerly defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, Elko became Duke’s head coach on Dec. 10, replacing David Cutcliffe. After Duke played six bowl games in seven seasons from 2012 to 2018, the Blue Devils suffered three straight losing seasons.

Since joining the Blue Devils, Elko has hired Smith, from Rutgers, as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, Lyle Hemphill from Wake Forest to coach safeties, and Harland Bower from Texas A&M as defensive ends coach.

Duke was in the final stages of hiring New York Giants assistant coach Sean Spencer to coach defensive linemen and as co-defensive coordinator. But, on Saturday, Spencer informed Duke that he was taking a job in Florida instead.

On offense, Kevin Johns left Memphis to become Duke’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach where he will work with Burden tight ends coach Patrick Dougherty. Private Taylor, a holdover from Cutcliffe’s staff, will coach the running backs as Duke’s assistant head coach while Adam Cushing, who left his head coaching job at Eastern Illinois last week, is Duke’s offensive line coach and running game coordinator.

Dougherty will also coordinate Duke’s special teams.

This story was originally published January 15, 2022 1:40 p.m.

Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. It placed second for both rhythm writing and breaking news in the 2019 Associated Press Sports Editors National Competition. Previously, Steve worked for The State (Columbia, SC), Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC), The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), Charlotte Observer and Hickory (NC) Daily Record covering beats such as the Panthers of NFL Carolina and Orleans New Saints, University of South Carolina Athletics and SC General Assembly. It has won numerous awards from state-level press associations. Steve graduated from Illinois State University in 1989.