Check out this story on ESPN about the resurrection of Duke’s football program under David Cutcliffe, who became head coach of the Blue Devils in 2007:
In the eight years prior to Cutcliffe’s arrival, the Blue Devils won a total of 10 football games. They’ve won 10 this season, the most in school history. The last time they won nine in a season was their 1941 Rose Bowl season.
This also will be the first time in school history that they’ve played in bowl games in back-to-back seasons…
Another interesting fact I learned from this article: Duke football has more starters from the state of North Carolina than UNC-Chapel Hill does this year. There are 28 players from the state of North Carolina on the current Blue Devils roster.
My own time at Duke spanned 2000 to 2004. During the first two football seasons of that period, Duke did not win a single game. That losing streak ended in 2002 (when the Blue Devils went 2-10, with no conference wins but with wins over East Carolina and Navy); things were better but still not great, and later, from 2005 to 2007, Duke lost 22 games in a row.
So, coming from that background, David Cutcliffe turning around the program in the past six years has been nothing short of astounding.
This Saturday evening (after the SEC Championship game in the afternoon), Duke plays Florida State in the ACC Championship game. Given Florida State’s performance this year, that game will likely be…challenging. Still, no matter the outcome of that game, it’s been one heck of a year. Rather surprising. In an awesome way.
Image Credit: Duke Chapel, early spring. Photo by Danny Fowler, March 2013, and used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license. Source: Flickr.