Duke University, football coach David Cutcliffe agree to part ways

David Cutcliffe

11/28/2021

DURHAM – Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King announced on Sunday the school and head football coach David Cutcliffe have reached a mutual agreement for separation.

“After some detailed and amiable discussions with Nina King, we’ve mutually decided that it is the right time for change in the leadership of Duke Football,” Cutcliffe said. “Karen and I have loved our time in Durham. Duke University will always hold a special place in our hearts. To our current and former players please know how much joy you’ve brought to our lives. To all of our coaches and staff, many who have been with us for 14 years, you will always have our love and respect. I want to thank Dick Brodhead for the opportunity to come here. I’m very thankful for Kevin White and Nina and their leadership. I can’t say enough about all the faithful alumni and friends that gave us an opportunity to build and win here. I’m not sure just yet what the future will look like, but I am looking forward to some family time to reflect a bit on the past and see what the future holds.”

“We are extremely grateful for David’s leadership over the past 14 seasons,” King said. “He lifted our program to unprecedented heights, both on and off the field, while maintaining the core values of the University and we could not be more appreciative of his mentorship of every student-athlete who played for Duke during his tenure. David and Karen have been tremendous ambassadors of Duke University and the Durham community and we wish them, along with their family, all the best going forward.”

Cutcliffe was named Duke’s head coach on December 15, 2007, and took over a Blue Devil program that had won just eight total games in the previous five years. The two-time ACC Coach of the Year and the 2013 National Coach of the Year, Cutcliffe led Duke to 77 victories in 14 seasons with six bowl game appearances, three bowl victories and the 2013 ACC Coastal Division championship. 

The Cutcliffe Era at Duke included the program’s first bowl victory since 1961, a pair of NFL first round draft picks in Laken Tomlinson (2014) and Daniel Jones (2019), an eight-game winning streak in 2013 to mark Duke’s longest since 1941, and final national rankings in 2013 (22nd by USA Today/Coaches and 23rd by Associated Press) to mark Duke’s first showing in a final poll since 1962.

Cutcliffe came to Duke after serving the previous two seasons as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. His head coaching experience includes a six-year stint at the University of Mississippi from 1999-2004 where he compiled a 44-29 (.603) ledger with five winning seasons, five bowl game appearances and a share of the SEC Western Division championship in 2003. Cutcliffe was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading the Rebels to a 10-3 record including a 31-28 victory over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

In his career, Cutcliffe has participated in 28 bowl games including the 1982 Peach, 1983 Florida Citrus, 1984 Sun, 1986 Sugar, 1986 Liberty, 1988 Peach, 1990 Cotton, 1991 Sugar, 1992 Fiesta, 1993 Hall of Fame, 1994 Florida Citrus, 1994 Gator, 1996 Florida Citrus, 1997 Florida Citrus, 1998 Orange, 1998 Independence, 1999 Independence, 2000 Music City, 2002 Independence, 2004 Cotton, 2007 Outback, 2008 Outback, 2012 Belk, 2013 Chick-fil-A, 2014 Hyundai Sun, 2015 New Era Pinstripe, 2017 Quick Lane and 2018 Walk-On’s Independence. He owns a 7-4 record as a head coach in bowl tilts with wins over Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Indiana, Northern Illinois and Temple.

Trooper Taylor, Duke’s Associate Head Coach and a member of the staff since 2019, will serve as the interim head coach.

A national search for a head coach will begin immediately.

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