Don't laugh. It's happening under first-year Duke football coach David Cutcliffe, who signed on 22 new Duke football season-ticket holders during a May 22 visit to his old hometown of Knoxville, Tenn.
Is the former Tennessee offensive coordinator trying to turn orange Volunteer fans into Blue Devils?
"Absolutely." Cutcliffe said Thursday during an interview in his newly refurbished office — complete with football leather wallpaper — at the Yoh Football Center. "Is that awesome? Isn't that great? We're going to set a record for season ticket sales. If you don't get on this year, you're really going to be out of luck next year."
So, David Cutcliffe, are you making that prediction?
"Yeah, I'm telling you, we're going to have some fun here," Cutcliffe said.
Cutcliffe crisscrossed the state on the Duke Athletics Tour selling Duke football, which last had a winning season in 1994, to jaded alumni and curious fans eager to check out the former Ole Miss coach and Tennessee offensive coordinator who shaped the arms of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning.
Cutcliffe ended up selling season tickets — advertising the four-ticket family pack for Duke home games at $199 as "cheaper than going to the movies."
Each event began with a trickle of season ticket sales before Cutcliffe spoke. After he spoke, Duke sold an additional 52 season tickets in Charlote, 58 in Atlanta, 44 in Greensboro, 32 in Wilson, 65 in Wilmington and 22 in Knoxville.
The final two tour dates are still to be determined. Duke will likely schedule the stop in Raleigh at the end of July and the stop in Durham early in August. Duke players report to practice on Aug. 3 and begin practice on Aug. 4.