After coaching Duke to its highest win total since 2003, Duke football coach David Cutcliffe has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension through the 2015 season, athletics director Kevin White announced Sunday.
Financial terms of the contract were not released and are not available to the public because Duke is a private institution.
In his debut season in 2008, Cutcliffe coached Duke to a 4-8 record, equaling the team’s win total from the previous four seasons combined under predecessor Ted Roof. The Blue Devils faced the second-strongest schedule in the nation according to the Sagarin computer rankings.
Duke played 10 teams that became bowl-eligible.
"Without question, David is one of the premier coaches in the country,” White said in a statement released by the school. “Not surprisingly, in a relatively short period of time, David has implanted his strong and determined leadership all over the Duke football program.”
Cutcliffe was Mississippi’s head coach from 1999 to 2004 and came to Duke from Tennessee after serving as Phil Fulmer’s offensive coordinator. He said he was impressed with the players’ attitude but said the Blue Devils were a “fat” football team that needed to get in better shape.
He instituted a rigorous offseason program that helped many players lose weight and increase their stamina. Cutcliffe also helped Duke improve the kicking game that had been woeful under Roof.
The Blue Devil place-kickers made 72.2 percent of their field goal attempts (13-for-18), the team’s best percentage since 1998, after going 7-for-22 the previous season. Punter Kevin Jones ranked third in the ACC with a 40.8-yard average per kick.
Duke fans greeted Cutcliffe with enthusiasm as season ticket sales increased 60 percent over the previous season. The Blue Devils had four announced home crowds of 30,000 or more for the first time in school history.
"David Cutcliffe is a great coach, a great teacher and a great citizen of the University and the community," Duke president Richard Brodhead said in a statement. "He and his team have restored confidence and excitement in Duke football, and I look forward to his leadership on the field for a long time to come."
Cutcliffe said in a statement that he is grateful for the confidence of White and Brodhead and believes he and his staff are building something special at Duke.