Duke's David Cutcliffe wins national coach of the year award

lkeeley@newsobserver.comDecember 5, 2013 

The votes for the first national coach of the year award are in, and Duke’s David Cutcliffe is the winner.

The 2013 Walter Camp Coach of the Year award, voted on by the 125 FBS coaches and sports information directors, went to Cutcliffe on Thursday. In Cutcliffe’s sixth year in Durham, the Blue Devils are ranked for the first time in 19 years and set a record for wins (10) in a season. Duke also won the Coastal Division for the first time in school history and will play Florida State Saturday in the ACC Championship game.

When asked Tuesday what his greatest coaching attribute is, Cutcliffe, 59, was quick with his response.

“That I’m still alive,” he said, drawing laughs.

His real answer was building relationships, something he said he truly enjoys.

The strength of those relationships is evident when talking to his players. For several weeks, the Blue Devils have been asked about why they committed to a program that had, at the time, no history of winning. To a man, they mentioned Cutcliffe and his vision as the reason.

“It’s easy to buy into what Coach Cutcliffe says, just from his track record,” said senior Dave Harding, in reference to Cutcliffe coaching on the staff of the 1998 Tennessee national championship team and mentoring Peyton and Eli Manning. “He’s an honest man, a man of integrity; he’s a trustworthy guy. Just by talking to him, you know that he’s sincere and is telling the truth. It was easy for me to buy into his plan.”

Duke has 31 wins under Cutcliffe, with the 10 this year. Before his arrival, Duke had 10 wins in its previous eight seasons.

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