Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe will not return for 15th season with Blue Devils

ByAndrea Adelson ESPN logo
Sunday, November 28, 2021
Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe will not return next season
Duke said the school and Cutcliffe reached a "mutual agreement for separation" in a press release.

DURHAM, N.C. -- Dukeand coach David Cutcliffe have mutually agreed to part ways, the school announced Sunday.

Cutcliffe spent the past 14 seasons with the Blue Devils, leading them to 77 wins with six bowl appearances and the 2013 Coastal Division championship.

But in recent years, Duke has struggled to win at a consistent level, finishing 2021 at 3-9 with eight straight losses to close out the year, its third straight losing season. The Blue Devils failed to win an ACC game for the first time since 2007.

Duke associate head coach Trooper Taylor will serve as the interim head coach until a new coach is hired.

"We are extremely grateful for David's leadership over the past 14 seasons," athletic director Nina King said in a statement. "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."

Under Cutcliffe, Duke won its first bowl game since 1961. He also led the Blue Devils to a final national ranking in 2013 for the first time since 1962.

His mastery with quarterbacks has been well told, serving as coach to both Peyton and Eli Manning in previous stops at Tennesseeand Ole Miss. At Duke, he coached Daniel Jones to a first-round selection with the New York Giants in 2019.

In July during an interview with ESPN, Cutcliffe said he would not be a coach who hung around too long if he could not find a way to help the Blue Devils win.

"If I ever feel like I'm a hindrance, then nobody's going to have to ask me to go," Cutcliffe said at the time.

In a statement Sunday, Cutcliffe said, "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."

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