Last week, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe raised some eyebrows when he proclaimed that he thought Duke had the best program in the country. For a team that hasn’t played in a bowl game in 17 seasons, it was a lofty statement. Cutcliffe made sure to clarify that he didn’t mean the Blue Devils were the best team, but his statement speaks volumes about the success of Duke Football since he arrived in Durham.
In his first four seasons at Duke, Cutcliffe’s teams have won more games than Duke did from 1999 until his arrival in 2008. After defeating Wake Forest on Saturday, Duke improved to 4-1, their best start since 1994, and just two wins away from that elusive bowl berth. Quite a turnaround for a “basketball school”. “Our program is pretty salty, pretty solid,” Cutcliffe said. “It’s probably ahead of the teams we’ve had to this point. But the team is not far behind now.”
The road to six wins and a bowl won’t be easy, with tough matchups against North Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami on the horizon, but after falling just short of a bowl berth last season, the Blue Devils are determined to get over the hump and play in the postseason. Asked how he motivates his players despite the long bowl drought, Cutcliffe said “It’s never fun to be on a bad end of a streak. It should motivate people, naturally.”
As the football team in enjoying some much needed success on the field, the work that Cutcliffe and his staff have put in are now paying dividends off the field. Although Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium is considered one of the most historic stadiums in the country, sitting in the shadows of the famed basketball arena Cameron Indoor, it is also one of the most run down and unappealing BCS conference stadiums in the country. This weekend it was announced that for the first time since opening in 1929, Wallace Wade will undergo major renovations, which will include removing the running track that surrounds the field, closing in the open endzone, adding over 10,000 new seats, and building a new press box and luxury suites.
Part of a $100 million athletic facilities upgrade, Duke football facilities will be getting a major facelift, and it is all thanks to the upgrade David Cutcliffe and his staff made to the football program, the best program in the country in his opinion.