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  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston View Post
    I am an advocate for positive change, nothing more. I live and die Duke Blue and have unwavering respect for Duke Athletics and Coach Cutcliff. That is why the thread is titled Succession Planning. I am also an advocate of open dialog.
    People need to calm down and realize we are still in a pandemic. Now maybe we haven't executed as well but we haven't practiced in a normal fashion. This is a lost year because of the virus. The program and school have lost millions of dollars and the team is fighting as if their hands are tied behind their backs. We are not the only team that is playing poorly. I don't like to hear excuses and if this were a normal year, talking about Cut's failures would be front and center. This year the school has to look at cutting expenses in every way. Stanford and other programs including Clemson cut out sports teams to save money. Clemson cut out their mens track and field. I haven't heard the numbers for Duke but I would bet the income is cut from college football by $50 million from last year. Where do you make that up by firing a coach whose hands are tied and paying a buyout and paying a new coach millions of dollars. If they want to cut expenses, you will probably have to begin by cutting all coaches salaries by 15%, cut the coaching staff by 1 coach, cut scholarships from 85 to 70, limit the travel for games. Play NC State each year as a non conference game. Now what would this do. It would make us non competitive with other schools but it might make us closer to breaking even in Football and might save other sports from being cut.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Barnstormer View Post
    People need to calm down and realize we are still in a pandemic.
    Yeah, to me this whole season is a series of exhibition games. Now, if Duke performs very poorly next year in a "real" season, I think it's reasonable to have this talk.

  3. #23
    OK, maybe I didn't phrase my take on the "ignorance is bliss" statement well enough. That's a fair issue to raise. But to say that this program has been "driven... into the ground?" Really?

    Cut actually used the phrase "hit bottom" in his latest post game presser. When quizzed about that comment later, he said that he was referring to just the UNC game. Does anyone really believe that though? He has 2 1/2 years left on his current contract, and his recent on field performance doesn't scream extension. Phrased another way: It better not amount to an extension. By all means, Franks and Roof were not good, but the football program has invested a fairly reasonable amount of money into the program since they were summarily canned. . Cut brought up Duke from the depths and delivered for a time. But that "we're not gonna run from it, we're gonna run to it" and endless "we're gonna have to evaluate everything" BS has been a running joke the last 3-4 years. The league has gotten a lot better than it was from 2013-2015. His offense is outdated, and the recruiting that he mined so well previously is not to be found. Why? The other area programs and the ACC at large have taken those kids.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cato View Post
    The horrors of Duke Football during my years in the mid- to late-90s are not a reason to shut this conversation down. They are a reason to be having this conversation. Each of us can see that this is a program headed in the wrong direction with no immediate prospect of a turn-around.

    I am not suggesting that Cut does not deserve to continue as Head Coach or that any specific change be made. But to try to shut down the conversation seems fruitless. Duke will either continue its decline or find some way to turn it around, and I know what result we all want to see.
    Good summary. Few of us want to see Cut fired, but it's ridiculous not to acknowledge the program's precipitous decline. In the last five seasons (2016-2020) our in conference record is 11-28, good for a 28% winning percentage, and we haven't broken even in the conference (4-4) since 2015.

    Blaming Covid just doesn't make any sense...all teams have been heavily inconvenienced, and we played Va Tech when they were down 21 guys, and we still couldn't beat them.

    So maybe we bumble along for two more years with Cut, maybe we don't, that's up to Kevin White...in any event I'm 100% certain he'll be respectful of Cut.

    I'm just saddened that Cut deserves a ton of credit for pulling us out of the abyss (and LOTS of credit also belongs to Duke for vastly increasing its support of the program, money, facilities, etc) and now we seem quite clearly headed back into the aforementioned abyss...so his legacy is being diminished, which is most unfortunate.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    Good summary. Few of us want to see Cut fired, but it's ridiculous not to acknowledge the program's precipitous decline. In the last five seasons (2016-2020) our in conference record is 11-28, good for a 28% winning percentage, and we haven't broken even in the conference (4-4) since 2015.

    Blaming Covid just doesn't make any sense...all teams have been heavily inconvenienced, and we played Va Tech when they were down 21 guys, and we still couldn't beat them.

    So maybe we bumble along for two more years with Cut, maybe we don't, that's up to Kevin White...in any event I'm 100% certain he'll be respectful of Cut.

    I'm just saddened that Cut deserves a ton of credit for pulling us out of the abyss (and LOTS of credit also belongs to Duke for vastly increasing its support of the program, money, facilities, etc) and now we seem quite clearly headed back into the aforementioned abyss...so his legacy is being diminished, which is most unfortunate.
    You said it way better than I ever could. I love Coach Cut for what he's done for Duke Football. However, I think he's fallen back into some bad habits. He's been too loyal to his assistant coaches and too loyal to his QBs. I know some fans will say that he doesn't have a back up plan at QB but if that's the case, then that's his fault as well. I don't want to see Cut fired but I do want to see some changes from him.

    GoDuke!

  6. #26
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    With the notable exception of Ben Albert, changes in assistant coaches have not been upgrades. The jury is still out on a couple of recent hires but bringing in quality assistant coaches is an area Coach Cutcliffe has struggled. He needed to hire a new offensive coordinator several years ago but opted not to.

    My concern is he waited too long. Organizations have change and sometimes the change has to start at the top. I believe Duke football is at that point.

    As others have stated, Coach Cutcliffe deserves to be treated with utmost respect but a transition plan discussion has to take place.
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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottdude8 View Post
    OK, maybe I didn't phrase my take on the "ignorance is bliss" statement well enough. That's a fair issue to raise. But to say that this program has been "driven... into the ground?" Really?

    Let's get into some evidence-based discussion here.
    -Duke has played in 6 bowl games under Coach Cut. Before Cut, it had been 14 YEARS since Duke was in a bowl game.
    -Under Cut, Duke has been ranked in the AP poll in four separate seasons. Before Cut, there had been just three such seasons... going back to 1963!
    -Duke is having an off year this year, but we've won two games, and could add to that number. In the eight years before Cut, Duke football won more than 2 games just ONCE.

    Some Duke football fans seem to have forgotten that there was a time in the not too distant past where Duke wouldn't reliably beat FCS competition, let alone win games in the ACC. That we won a legal battle by arguing that we were LITERALLY the worst program in all of major college football. That we weren't just losing, but getting embarrassed on a regular basis.

    Has this season been disappointing? Of course! Was last season? Of course! But both of those seasons were still far and away superior to anything we had before Cut. The fact that Duke is COMPETITIVE in most ACC games (yes last weekend was disappointing, but in the big picture) is something that, when I was a freshman (which was coincidentally Cut's first season), I would've taken in a heartbeat.

    The mere fact that we CAN be disappointed is a testament to how far Cut has taken this program. And let's not forget, there are HUGE limitations on this program! The biggest is the simple reality that there isn't enough of a local alumni base to fill a football stadium consistently. Cut has actually led the program in taking creative steps to engage the local fanbase and try to turn Duke into Durham's football team, despite longstanding history working against him.

    Duke will not be in a bowl game every year. I'm sorry, but that's the reality of this program. But we can be, should be, and are a program that can challenge for a bowl game in most seasons, can create potential exciting upsets, and normally is competitive with our major rival. Every few years, when the cards fall right, we can and have been a Top 25 caliber team. That's right on par with successful football programs from comparable schools like Northwestern and Wake Forest. We no longer are a laughing stock like Vanderbilt. But we will NEVER be Clemson, or even UNC, on a consistent basis.

    If you can think of a coach who could take our program to those heights, with the limitations it has, and would even consider the job, I'm all ears. But until then, I'm sticking with the man who took a program that, again, won a court case by arguing they were literally the worst in all of major college football, into one that is competitive more often than not.
    Look, you're entitled to your view, which boils down to Duke was turrible for a long time, Duke has limited upside compared to state-school football factories, and Cut has done good things. You are arguing with strawmen, though, because no one is debating the other side of those points. The one thing you assert that is actually wrong is the demand that someone show you the coach that Duke is guaranteed to get if/when Duke moves on. That's not how coaching searches (or at least 99% of them, and particularly for schools not named Alabama or Texas) work. And you're dead wrong to imply that there is no good coach that would want to come to Duke.

    Also, please consider stopping the lectures about Duke football history, considering that some of us who are advocating for change have been Duke football fans for decades longer than you.

    Quote Originally Posted by duke79 View Post
    Amen! 100% correct, IMHO.

    And I stand by my previous post 100%. I believe this thread SHOULD be SHUT DOWN!
    Please stop screaming.

  8. #28
    The pandemic has definitely hurt the program this year, but it also has magnified the state of the program. Because of the pandemic, games like Elon or NCCU are not on the schedule. We have an all conference schedule and with a 28% ACC record over the last 5 years, pandemic or not, would mean 2-3 wins at the most based on that 5 year average. I am not sure how a 28% winning percentage is being competitive in the ACC, but it's not a zero percentage like it was in some of the pre-Cut years. So if we can win 2 more games this year, we have achieved our average. Which, it seems, is great.

    In reality, Duke football has been average, at best, since the mid 60's. Today, you can go to a bowl game with a 6 and sometimes 5 wins. There must be 100 bowl games now. Going to a bowl game today can be achieved by just being average. Outside of a nice run 6-7 years ago, we have been average. Based on people calling for the the thread to be shut down and acting like it is criminal to want more than average (and below average in ACC games) I think that the state of the program and the expectations of a lot of posters is consistent with where Duke has been in football for 55 years. Maybe Cutcliffe is the very best we can do. ( I disagree). Which is better than a lot of the coaches that our administration has hired in previous years. And a lower tier bowl and an occasional .500 in conference record every so often is the norm for Duke football.

    That's our history, so we need to be happy with that. Achieving excellence in Duke football is not on the table. Being better than Roof or Franks is the gold standard.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinDevil View Post
    Look, you're entitled to your view, which boils down to Duke was turrible for a long time, Duke has limited upside compared to state-school football factories, and Cut has done good things. You are arguing with strawmen, though, because no one is debating the other side of those points. The one thing you assert that is actually wrong is the demand that someone show you the coach that Duke is guaranteed to get if/when Duke moves on. That's not how coaching searches (or at least 99% of them, and particularly for schools not named Alabama or Texas) work. And you're dead wrong to imply that there is no good coach that would want to come to Duke.

    Also, please consider stopping the lectures about Duke football history, considering that some of us who are advocating for change have been Duke football fans for decades longer than you.
    Apologies if my post came across as a "lecture"... tone is very difficult to convey in text as opposed to a conversation, haha. I know that many people on this board are MUCH longer tenured Duke fans than I. But I also know that many are younger. Oftentimes these conversations stem from the later rather than the former, so I figured context was useful to inject into the discussion.

    I would disagree with your characterization of my argument as against a "strawman", but that's a reasonable point of disagreement. So what I would counter with is this: What type of coach do you see that could come in and improve Duke's success on the football field, not looking just at one season but over a decade of data? I think we're all suffering from some recency bias here. I would argue that any coaching change would lead to a "dark" period of at least 2-3 years where we'd have to rebuild recruiting relationships, staff, etc., with no guarantee that those things will get back to where they are now. I also think that coaches with the mindset that Duke is their "end destination" and embrace the challenges/limitations of the program are few and far between. Remember, Cut is a guy who turned down what was thought to be his "dream job" at Tennessee to stay at Duke. In today's college football landscape, if we went out and hired some young up and comer, if they did some amazing things with the program that would likely mean they're gone to a middling SEC school in 4-5 years.

    There is an argument to be made that perhaps taking that chance is the way to go. I think for most schools, that argument would win out. For Duke, given it's unique limitations and challenges, I don't think that makes sense, and in fact would argue that the challenges are so unique here that a typical high caliber coaching candidate would either not seriously consider this job, or perhaps struggle here where they might not elsewhere. All these are points in favor of trusting the process with Cut, even though there have been two very disappointing seasons.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dm9e24 View Post
    The pandemic has definitely hurt the program this year, but it also has magnified the state of the program. Because of the pandemic, games like Elon or NCCU are not on the schedule. We have an all conference schedule and with a 28% ACC record over the last 5 years, pandemic or not, would mean 2-3 wins at the most based on that 5 year average. I am not sure how a 28% winning percentage is being competitive in the ACC, but it's not a zero percentage like it was in some of the pre-Cut years. So if we can win 2 more games this year, we have achieved our average. Which, it seems, is great.

    In reality, Duke football has been average, at best, since the mid 60's. Today, you can go to a bowl game with a 6 and sometimes 5 wins. There must be 100 bowl games now. Going to a bowl game today can be achieved by just being average. Outside of a nice run 6-7 years ago, we have been average. Based on people calling for the the thread to be shut down and acting like it is criminal to want more than average (and below average in ACC games) I think that the state of the program and the expectations of a lot of posters is consistent with where Duke has been in football for 55 years. Maybe Cutcliffe is the very best we can do. ( I disagree). Which is better than a lot of the coaches that our administration has hired in previous years. And a lower tier bowl and an occasional .500 in conference record every so often is the norm for Duke football.

    That's our history, so we need to be happy with that. Achieving excellence in Duke football is not on the table. Being better than Roof or Franks is the gold standard.
    some good points, but I have to disagree that being better than Roof or Franks is the gold standard...those guys got ZERO support from the administration, got paid about a quarter of what Cut came in at, so no, given the greatly increased budget, better facilities, modest academic concessions Cut enjoys, the gold standard has to be WAY better than 0-2 wins/year.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottdude8 View Post
    I think we're all suffering from some recency bias here. I would argue that any coaching change would lead to a "dark" period of at least 2-3 years where we'd have to rebuild recruiting relationships, staff, etc., with no guarantee that those things will get back to where they are now.
    It depends on what you consider to be the main ailments. If you consider it to be recruiting, then having lesser success than we're presently having seems unlikely, and if you consider it to be the on the field coaching, then there is no reason a new coach wouldn't have an immediate impact.

    Remember, Cutcliffe made the team immediately better when he got here. I don't pretend like that would be a norm, only that assuming we'd have 2-3 "dark" years is not something I'd necessarily agree with, regardless of whether I believe we should move on or not.

    I also think you're glorifying Cut's decision to stay here. Obviously it was a huge validation of the duke program, but he also was very close to going there, and the major sticking point was his ability to retain his assistants.
    basketball is back, baby!

  12. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    I also think you're glorifying Cut's decision to stay here. Obviously it was a huge validation of the duke program, but he also was very close to going there, and the major sticking point was his ability to retain his assistants.
    Is this common knowledge? It is news to me, but I'll admit to not being fanatic about following football rumors.

    And I have to admit my personal bias, where loyalty to staff is far from the top of undesirable behavior for football coaches. I am not at all copacetic with the expectation of many fans regarding personnel decisions to be made based on attitudes of those fans. If anything, I applaud Cutcliffe for his evident attitude on this.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    With the notable exception of Ben Albert, changes in assistant coaches have not been upgrades. The jury is still out on a couple of recent hires but bringing in quality assistant coaches is an area Coach Cutcliffe has struggled. He needed to hire a new offensive coordinator several years ago but opted not to.

    My concern is he waited too long. Organizations have change and sometimes the change has to start at the top. I believe Duke football is at that point.

    As others have stated, Coach Cutcliffe deserves to be treated with utmost respect but a transition plan discussion has to take place.
    Just to add to this, when Cut arrived I think you could make the case that we had one of the best staffs in the conference. As guys moved on to better opportunities (or retired) we failed to adequately replace them. Now we probably have comfortably the worst staff in the conference (in total, we do have a couple very good coaches).

  14. #34
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    I think there is an easy way to solve the fact that many of us seem to be "talking around" each other here, and that's to start by answering this very simple question: What are your expectations for the Duke Football program?

    As I've said, mine are a program on the level of Northwestern/Wake Forest: in an average year a respectable Power 5 college football program, with the propensity for a stinker every few years, but also the potential for a Top 25 caliber season when all the cards fall correctly. Above all else, I expect this team to be competitive in most, but not necessarily all, games it plays. I don't expect this team to make a bowl every season.

    Under those expectations I think that Cut is more than doing his job, and thus talks of moving on from him are premature. I would put last year under the "stinker" category (even though we were, if you remember, competitive in many of the games we lost), and agree with many who've posted that it's hard to judge anyone on this weird season (although Michigan fans might disagree when it comes to Jim Harbaugh, haha).

    Now, many might have higher expectations for this program: that we should be filling Wallace Wade, going to a bowl every year, and/or more competitive for ACC titles. We can have a reasonable debate about how realistic those expectations are, although I would understand why under those expectations you might see this program getting farther away from that high bar these past few seasons. For those with that perspective, I would again ask the question: how confident are you that there is a coach out there who would be interested in the Duke job that would move us closer to that goal than Cut has? I've made my position on that question clear, although that is very much open to debate.

    I think making that "expectation" question clear will help get this discussion back on track into the "constructive" category and away from some of the snide comments (myself included!) that have been creeping in here.
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  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by 75Crazie View Post
    Is this common knowledge? It is news to me, but I'll admit to not being fanatic about following football rumors.

    And I have to admit my personal bias, where loyalty to staff is far from the top of undesirable behavior for football coaches. I am not at all copacetic with the expectation of many fans regarding personnel decisions to be made based on attitudes of those fans. If anything, I applaud Cutcliffe for his evident attitude on this.
    I think it is pretty well known that Cut would have taken the Tennessee job if they had let him bring all his assistants.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by 75Crazie View Post
    Is this common knowledge? It is news to me, but I'll admit to not being fanatic about following football rumors.

    And I have to admit my personal bias, where loyalty to staff is far from the top of undesirable behavior for football coaches. I am not at all copacetic with the expectation of many fans regarding personnel decisions to be made based on attitudes of those fans. If anything, I applaud Cutcliffe for his evident attitude on this.
    I don't know about "common" knowledge, but Tennessee people confirmed that Cut would have taken the job there had he been able to bring all of his staff...Tennessee already had some assistant coaches under contract and didn't want to buy them out. FWIW I don't blame Cut in the least for considering that job, that's the way things work, it was a dream job for him....but it's important to correctly describe the circumstances of Cut's staying...

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottdude8 View Post
    I would again ask the question: how confident are you that there is a coach out there who would be interested in the Duke job that would move us closer to that goal than Cut has? I've made my position on that question clear, although that is very much open to debate.
    100% confident. The idea that there isn't a good coach out there who would take 2-3 million dollars per year to coach at Duke continues to be completely ridiculous.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    100% confident. The idea that there isn't a good coach out there who would take 2-3 million dollars per year to coach at Duke continues to be completely ridiculous.
    Yeah, that canard gets brought up all the time. Just for example, I don't think there's a single coach in the MAC (spawning ground for many good head coaches) who makes a million bucks, the average for the 12 of them is roughly $650k a year.
    Wake, for example, snagged a very good coach from there, and Duke pays Cut way more than Clawson's $2.1 million. Names have already surfaced about people interested in the Duke job should it become available, discussions thereof can be found on other boards. If and when the job opens up, there will be a LOT of solid applicants.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    Yeah, that canard gets brought up all the time. Just for example, I don't think there's a single coach in the MAC (spawning ground for many good head coaches) who makes a million bucks, the average for the 12 of them is roughly $650k a year.
    Wake, for example, snagged a very good coach from there, and Duke pays Cut way more than Clawson's $2.1 million. Names have already surfaced about people interested in the Duke job should it become available, discussions thereof can be found on other boards. If and when the job opens up, there will be a LOT of solid applicants.
    I have to agree here. Many of the candidates wouldn't have the national pedigree of cutcliffe, and I think that helped when he was brought on board as it gave the program instant legitimacy, but I don't think it's necessary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    100% confident. The idea that there isn't a good coach out there who would take 2-3 million dollars per year to coach at Duke continues to be completely ridiculous.
    I agree with Acy 100 percent. Look at recent hires at other ACC schools:

    Wake Forest - hired Dave Clawson from Bowling Green
    Georgia Tech - hired Geoff Collins from Temple
    NC State - hired Dave Doeren from N. Illinois
    Virginia Tech - hired Justin Fuente from Memphis

    There are coaches out there who would jump at the opportunity to coach Duke.
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