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David Cutcliffe, Duke football part ways after 14 seasons

David Cutcliffe did not win an ACC game during the 2021 season.
David Cutcliffe did not win an ACC game during the 2021 season.

Duke football head coach David Cutcliffe and the program “have reached a mutual agreement for separation,” athletic director Nina King announced Sunday afternoon

Cutcliffe did not win an ACC game this year and has a 10-25 record in the past three seasons after a 2018 campaign that ended in an Independence Bowl win and his quarterback protege Daniel Jones being taken No. 6 overall in the NFL Draft a few months after. 

"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."

The past three seasons have raised a lot of questions over the future trajectory of the Duke football program, but Cutcliffe does still get deserved credit for the six bowl appearances, ACC Championship game appearance in 2013 and first AP ranking since 1994 during his 14-year tenure. 

Prior to Cutcliffe, Ted Roof head coached the Blue Devils, and left the program in shambles for Cutcliffe to take over. The then-Tennessee offensive coordinator built a foundation for the next five years and led Duke to a 10-win 2013 season and ACC Coastal Championship. 

"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."

Associate head coach Trooper Taylor will take over as the interim head coach until a replacement is named. While no candidates have leaked as of now, The Chronicle has compiled 10 names to keep an eye on.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.


Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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