David Cutcliffe: 'People ask why I don't leave Duke. It's because...'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday May 23, 2016


When the Tennessee head coaching job opened in late 2012, David Cutcliffe quickly turned down interest publicly. He has no plans to leave Durham.

The idea of choosing Duke over an SEC school for football would seem farfetched, and that was coming before Cutcliffe's first bowl game there. Since then, the Blue Devils have made three more bowl games and won a division title.

Duke has also upped its investment for Cutcliffe, including a stadium renovation. So why isn’t Cutcliffe leaving Duke? Because he has no reason to. While on WJOX recently, Cutcliffe reflected on the Tennessee talk.

“This was before my mother passed away. We had two or three people, some of it didn’t go public. She called me and said, ‘David, you’ve always known what do when it comes to right or wrong,’” Cutcliffe said. “I said, ‘Yes, ma’am, I do.’ I really wasn’t going to do anything, but when I heard that, that certainly made it easy. That’s the bottom line. We had committed ourselves to Duke. They’d done some things that they had never done before, made a commitment from a facility standpoint and let us put our staff together.

People ask me now ‘Why do you not leave when you get these job offers?’ It’s because I have the best job in America. Every day, I walk in our facility. Regardless of who I see, I know it’s going to be somebody I love and somebody I trust. How does it get any better than that? That’s what life is all about anyway.”

Duke’s a basketball school, but sports in the fall finally mean something. Cutcliffe knew the role of basketball, so when he went to Duke to interview after the 2007 season, he requested to meet with Mike Krzyzewski.

“I told them I really don’t want to come over there if I’m not going to talk to the most successful coach that’s ever been there,” Cutcliffe said. “He agreed, so I went over there, and it was the best decision I made to go over there. It was 15 minutes on the sheet, but he and I talked for an hour and a half.

“I learned a lot about Duke. I learned a lot about winning at Duke We went back to his early years. He was very gracious with his information, and he’s been a big aid to us. There’s plenty of room for football and basketball at Duke. The provost said to me, ‘We never knew it could be this much fun in the fall.’”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.