Team preview: Duke

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(All information as of June 20, 2008)


When Duke hired Wallace Wade in 1931, the school knew it was getting a proven major college winner. Wade arrived in Durham with a 63-13-3 record in eight seasons at Alabama that included two Rose Bowl trips and three national championships.

None of the next 11 head football coaches hired by Duke have started work with a winning resume as a major college head coach. Bill Murray and Red Wilson had successful small-college records when hired and Steve Spurrier had three winning years in the USFL. But not one of Wade's 11 successors arrived at Duke with a career winning major college record.

David Cutcliffe, hired last winter to replace the unsuccessful Ted Roof (6-45 in four-plus seasons), broke that streak. The famed quarterback guru came to Durham with a 44-29 record in six seasons as a head coach at Ole Miss. He coached the Rebels in five bowl games and won four of those, along with an SEC West Division championship. He first won fame as Tennessee's offensive coordinator, where he mentored Peyton Manning and helped turn unheralded Tee Martin into a national championship quarterback. At Ole Miss, he helped polish Eli Manning's game -- giving Cutcliffe claim to teaching the last two Super Bowl MVPs.

"He was a huge reason why I chose to attend the University of Tennessee," Peyton Manning said. "Speaking for Eli, coach Cutcliffe being named the head coach at Ole Miss was a swaying factor in Eli's decision to go to school there."

So what is such a respected coach doing at Duke, which has been the nation's least successful BCS program over the last decade?