David Cutcliffe out as Duke head football coach after 0-8 ACC season


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Just as Duke University basketball is losing its longtime coach, so too is the football team as officials announced Sunday that head football coach David Cutcliffe is leaving the program.

With Saturday’s loss to Miami, Duke finished with its first winless ACC record since 2007 and its eighth straight loss.

Cutcliffe took the Duke job in December 2007, began as the program had won just eight total games in the previous five years.

Cutcliffe has been with Duke football for 14 years.

Trooper Taylor, Duke’s associate head coach and a member of the staff since 2019, will serve as the interim head coach, the university said in a news release.

Cutcliffe and athletic director Nina King announced a “mutual agreement for separation” Sunday, one day after the Blue Devils capped their third straight losing season with their eighth consecutive conference loss — the last six by at least three touchdowns apiece.

Cutcliffe said in a statement issued by the school that “we’ve mutually decided that it is the right time for change in the leadership of Duke football.”

Cutcliffe turned one of the worst programs in college football into a division champion in 2013, and even produced consecutive bowl-winning teams in 2017 and ’18 before things quickly unraveled.

The Blue Devils (3-9, 0-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) went winless in league play for the first time since 2007 — the season before he was hired.

The longest-tenured active coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference and former Mississippi coach and Tennessee assistant developed a reputation as a guru for quarterbacks.

He groomed Peyton and Eli Manning into NFL stars and Super Bowl winners before helping Daniel Jones, the sixth overall pick in 2019.

Cutcliffe went 121-126 during a 21-year head coaching career that included seven seasons at Ole Miss. 

His 77 victories at Duke rank third in school history, behind stadium namesake Wallace Wade (110) and Bill Murray (93), and are more than twice as many as fourth-place Mike McGee.

He and Steve Spurrier are the only Duke coaches since the 1970s to win at least 40 percent of their games.

The unquestioned crowning achievement of his Duke career came in 2013, when he took a team picked to finished last in the Coastal Division and went 10-4 with a final No. 23 national ranking after advancing to the only ACC championship game in school history.

That came amid a run of four consecutive bowl appearances. In Cutcliffe’s fifth season, the Blue Devils snapped a 17-year bowl drought.

But things dropped off during the past three years, with Duke going a combined 10-25 since the start of the 2019 season — including a 2-9 finish during the pandemic season in 2020 that marked the fewest wins for the Blue Devils since they went 1-11 in 2007.

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