One day after Duke finished a winless season in the ACC Coastal Division with another one-sided defeat, Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe and and Duke athletic director announced a mutual 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 (his wife) 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.”
King announced assistant coach Trooper Taylor will serve as interim head coach as the national signing day approaches. She added Duke has begun a national search for a new head coach.
“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.”
Moving on from Cutcliffe was the first big decision King faced since succeeding retired Kevin White in September as the school’s athletic director.
Cutcliffe arrived in 2008 having inherited perhaps the worst football program in the nation. The Blue Devils had gone 2-33 the previous three seasons.
Cutcliffe led Duke to the 2013 ACC Coastal Division title, losing to eventual national champion Florida State of the Atlantic Division in the ACC final. Cutcliffe guided the Blue Devils to six bowl games, three bowl victories and 77 wins in 14 seasons.
Duke had not won a bowl game since 1961 until the Blue Devils (8-5) defeated Indiana in the 2015 Pinstripe Bowl.
However, a 5-7 record in 2019, 2-7 in 2020 and 3-9 in 2022 was a deep slide backward. The last two seasons have been marked by non-competitive losses. Attendance had fallen off dramatically in the 2021 season.