Duke Blue Devils football coach David Cutcliffe is a man that’s not afraid of a challenge. How else do you explain his willingness to take over a team that has only had three winning seasons in the last 25 years?
As coaches tend to do, Cutcliffe is focused on changing the culture of the program. The players have been put through a new training program, and introduced to the Cutcliffe family code through a story about the coach’s father.
His father taught Cutcliffe and his five siblings a life lesson after a Sunday afternoon at the park.
“He pointed out all the trash that everybody had left, and he had us pick it all up,” Cutcliffe said. “We complained and moaned and groaned, but we picked it up and put it on one of those big old concrete picnic tables. It looked great. He just said, ‘Remember that when a Cutcliffe goes somewhere, you leave it better than you found it.’
“That’s how you build a program: leave a place better than you found it in every way.”
Cutcliffe followed the story by having the team get up at 6:30 in the morning for a light breakfast and then going out to clean the Duke campus. The day was considered a success except for the five dirty diapers found in a corner of the football stadium.
Coach Cutcliffe is developing the physical and mental shape of the team although linebacker Michael Tauiliili isn’t sure how well the clean up project will translate to the field.
“This is one of the small things that we can do to leave our campus that we call home better than we found it,” linebacker Michael Tauiliili said. “I wouldn’t say it will help in the win column, but it helps as far as building team camaraderie.
At least the Duke players will be getting along as they go winless in the ACC for the fourth straight season.