Years of irrelevance. With a 12-game conference losing streak, which includes a third straight year of missing a post-season bowl, it should be an easy answer for new Duke athletic director Nina King to relinquish head football coach David Cutcliffe of his duties; but the question still remains will she pull the plug? Yahoo’s Pete Thamel reported David Cutcliffe may be retiring after Saturday’s game with Miami.
During Tuesday’s presser coach David Cutcliffe addressed the rumors saying:
” That’s what everybody’s speculating. I got more. I don’t know if I look worn out or look all that bad, but I got a lot of fire in me” I’m a young football coach. I love doing what I’m doing. Has this been fun? No. Has it been rewarding? Yes, because you find out more about yourself during these times. here is the test. I’ve had to fight adversity all my life, and you don’t run from it. I want to invite anybody that wants to keep up with me to try to keep up with me. Come on”
Of course, Cutcliffe brought the Duke football program from history of losing and being non-competitive in football games before he stepped foot in Durham, but those characteristics have become the norm once again. Duke hasn’t been competitive in a football game since October 9th, nearly two months ago in a 31-27 loss to Georgia Tech. Their opponents since that time frame have averaged over 400 yards per game, 40 points per game, and at times, Duke has punted the ball more than converted 3rd downs. It speaks for itself. It’s time to make changes in Durham. A week ago Duke gave up 62 points to Louisville on ESPN primetime. The Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham put on quite the performance – totaling over 500 yards offense by himself.
The meeting versus Miami on Saturday could land David Cutcliffe with his first winless ACC season during his tenure at Duke. Not only are the players not responding to coach David Cutcliffe, the product on the field doesn’t reflect a winning culture. The fight that once resounded within the Duke program no longer exists, not just within the players, but the head coach himself.
Coach Cutcliffe knows Saturday’s game versus Miami may be his last hoorah. Duke is a double digit underdog (6th game in a row) in their home stadium. Nina King should give Cutcliffe the option to retire on his own terms, while informing him the program will be going a different direction going forward.
Duke appreciates the ‘once upon a time’ winning culture that the Blue Devils presented on the field and graciously accepts David Cutcliffe’s retirement.
Who replaces David Cutcliffe? Not only are you trying to sell the culture at Duke to high school prospects, you have to make them buy in to changing the program around after winning just one conference game in two years. That’s a big task for a small program.