David Cutcliffe, who led Ole Miss to four bowl games in six seasons and mentored Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, was named Duke University’s 21st head football coach on December 15, 2007.
Cutcliffe is 12-24 (.333) in three seasons at Duke and owns an overall head coaching ledger of 56-53 (.514). Cutcliffe’s 12 victories in three years with the Blue Devils are two more than the program’s total in the previous eight seasons (2000-07) combined. In his three seasons in Durham, three Blue Devils — linebacker Michael Tauiliili (2008), defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase (2009) and kicker Will Snyderwine (2010) — have earned All-America honors.
In 2010, the Blue Devil offense produced an average of 381.3 yards per game — Duke’s highest total since 1989 — as quarterback Sean Renfree became just the fourth player in school history to throw for over 3,000 yards. In addition, kicker Will Snyderwine was a first team All-America honoree after booting a school single-season record 21 field goals and compiling 95 points to post the second-highest single-season total in Duke history.
Cutcliffe’s second campaign at Duke — 2009 — yielded a 5-7 ledger to give the program its most wins in a season since 1994. Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, a two-time All-ACC selection and current member of the St. Louis Rams organization, led the conference in passing after throwing for 3,330 yards and 20 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. Lewis concluded his career with 10,065 yards to rank first at Duke and second in ACC history in passing yardage.
In 2008, Cutcliffe led the Blue Devils to four victories — matching the school’s win total from the previous four seasons combined.
Duke’s fan support has also increased since Cutcliffe took the helm of the gridiron program. In his first season, Duke set a school single-season record with four home crowds of 30,000 or more spectators. Eight of Duke’s 20 home dates in the Cutcliffe Era have reached 30,000 fans — compared to just four of the previous 47 home games prior to his arrival.
Cutcliffe, born September 16, 1954, came to Duke after serving the previous two seasons as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. His head coaching experience includes a six-year stint at the University of Mississippi from 1999-04 where he compiled a 44-29 (.603) ledger with five winning seasons, five bowl game appearances and a share of the SEC Western Division championship in 2003. Cutcliffe was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading the Rebels to a 10-3 record including a 31-28 victory over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.
Cutcliffe has participated in 22 bowl games including the 1982 Peach, 1983 Florida Citrus, 1984 Sun, 1986 Sugar, 1986 Liberty, 1988 Peach, 1990 Cotton, 1991 Sugar, 1992 Fiesta, 1993 Hall of Fame, 1994 Florida Citrus, 1994 Gator, 1996 Florida Citrus, 1997 Florida Citrus, 1998 Orange, 1998 Independence, 1999 Independence, 2000 Music City, 2002 Independence, 2004 Cotton, 2007 Outback and 2008 Outback. He owns a 4-1 (.800) record as a head coach in bowl tilts with victories over Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
As a member of the coaching staff at Tennessee from 1982-98, Cutcliffe helped the Volunteers to five Southeastern Conference championships, 16 bowl games in 17 seasons and the national title in 1998. His first tenure with the Vols featured the mentoring of quarterbacks Andy Kelly, Heath Shuler, Tee Martin and Peyton Manning.
Kelly, who played at Tennessee from 1988-91 and graduated atop the school’s career passing chart, has gone on to become the Arena Football League’s career leader in pass completions, pass attempts, passing yards and touchdown passes. Shuler, a first team All-America choice in 1993 after throwing for 2,353 yards and a then school-record 25 touchdowns, was the third overall pick by the Washington Redskins in the 1994 NFL Draft. In November of 2006, Shuler was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina’s 11th congressional district.
By throwing for 19 touchdowns against just six interceptions, Martin directed the Volunteer offense in 1998 as Tennessee went 13-0 and captured the SEC and national championships. Peyton Manning’s storied career concluded in 1997 when the signal-caller threw for 3,819 yards and 36 touchdowns while earning first team All-America honors as well as the Maxwell Award presented annually to the nation’s top player. Peyton Manning was the number one choice in the 1998 NFL Draft, earned league MVP honors in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 and was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLI as his Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears, 25-17, on February 4, 2007.
In 1997, the Tennessee offensive unit established school single-season standards for first downs (300), pass completions (296), pass attempts (492), passing yards (3,981), passing touchdowns (37) and total offense (5,794) as the Volunteers went 11-2 and defeated Auburn, 30-29, in the SEC championship game.
In 1998, Cutcliffe was honored with the Frank Broyles Award, an honor given annually to the top assistant coach in the country. During Cutcliffe’s tenure as offensive coordinator from 1993-98, Tennessee enjoyed four 1,000-yard rushers in Charlie Garner (1,161 in 1993), James Stewart (1,028 in 1994), Jay Graham (1,438 in 1995) and Jamal Lewis (1,364 in 1997). Stewart (19th overall pick by Jacksonville in 1995) and Lewis (5th overall pick by Baltimore in 2000) went on to be first round selections in the NFL Draft.
On December 2, 1998, Cutcliffe was named the head coach at Mississippi and coached the Rebels in their 35-18 Independence Bowl win over Texas Tech to conclude the 1998 campaign.
While at Mississippi, Cutcliffe tutored 2003 SEC Player of the Year Eli Manning. Manning was a first team All-America pick as a senior, closed his career with an SEC-record 10,119 passing yards and was the top overall choice in the 2004 NFL Draft. In his fourth professional season, he guided the New York Giants to the Super Bowl and earned MVP honors after throwing for 255 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-14 win over the New England Patriots on February 3, 2008.
Cutcliffe also coached three-time All-SEC running back Deuce McAllister, who set Rebel career records for rushing yards (3,060) and rushing touchdowns (37) and was a first round selection of the New Orleans Saints in the 2001 NFL Draft.
Cutcliffe’s recruiting efforts at Ole Miss produced three national award winners in Eli Manning (2003; Maxwell Award), Jon Nichols (2003; Lou Groza Award presented annually to the top kicker in the nation) and Patrick Willis (2006; Butkus Award presented annually to the top linebacker in the country). During his six seasons at the helm of the Rebel program, Mississippi set school single-season records for total offense, passing offense and scoring offense while winning twice at both Auburn and LSU, securing consecutive victories over Florida, and defeating both Arkansas and South Carolina on three occasions.
In the spring of 2005, Cutcliffe joined the coaching staff at Notre Dame, but resigned from the post for health reasons. He then returned to Knoxville prior to the 2006 season. Cutcliffe helped the Volunteers to a 19-8 record from 2006-07 with two appearances in the Outback Bowl. In 2007, Tennessee went 10-4 with a 6-2 league mark en route to winning the SEC Eastern Division crown. The Tennessee offense allowed an NCAA-low four sacks on the year, and quarterback Erik Ainge earned MVP honors of the Outback Bowl after throwing for 365 yards and two touchdowns as the Volunteers defeated Wisconsin, 21-17. Tennessee running back Arian Foster rushed for 1,193 yards on the year while wide receiver Lucas Taylor reached the 1,000-yard plateau for receiving yards. In addition, offensive guard Anthony Parker garnered second team All-America accolades.
With Cutcliffe at offensive coordinator, Tennessee scored 30 or more points in 62 of 100 games, posting a 59-3 (.952) ledger in those contests. The Volunteers compiled an overall record of 173-54-7 (.754) during his 19 seasons. Cutcliffe is the only coach in SEC history to have two quarterbacks throw for over 10,000 career yards while his offenses produced the all-time leading passers, rushers and receivers at both Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Cutcliffe’s coaching tenure as both an assistant and head coach features five quarterbacks that have surpassed the 3,000-yard barrier in a single season: Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1996 & 1997), Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2002 & 2003), Ainge (Tennessee, 2007), Lewis (Duke, 2009) and Renfree (Duke, 2010). In addition, eight of Cutcliffe’s signal-calling pupils have either earned all-conference honors or led their respective team to a bowl game victory.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Cutcliffe graduated from the University of Alabama in 1976. He got his start in the coaching profession at Banks High School — his alma mater — and spent four years as an assistant coach before becoming the head coach in 1980.