As the Duke Athletics Tour 2010 (which could be called David Cutcliffe Unplugged as his booming voice required no microphone) wound down with the Winston-Salem stop on Tuesday night, there was an eclectic mixture of new Duke attitude and rich Duke tradition to be experienced.
Held at the slick downtown headquarters of ISP, Duke's official broadcast partner, there was Blue Devil athletic greatness of "old". Basketball letterman Fred Lind, a key figure in the legendary 1968 triple-overtime win over UNC in Cameron, snapped digital photos galore and was cat-quick to share pictures of his Olympic-rowing gold-medalist daughter Caroline. Meanwhile, pass-catching legend Clarkston Hines, who looks like he could still roll a wheel route through double coverage for six, strolled about the room with a familiar fluidity.
As Coach Cutcliffe took the stage he introduced Assistant Defensive Coordinator and Linebacker Coach Jim Collins and Director of Football Development and Team Chaplain James "Mitch" Mitchell; along with several members of athletic administration, ticket sales, and the equipment staff. He also acknowledged players' parents Sam Banks (Adam) and Tim Sink (incoming freshman Nick). He spent much more time working the crowd than speaking, but his few comments included:
- Recruiting: Coach said that when they start selling Duke to recruits they don't focus on the University, which basically sells itself, but rather, "We're selling the people." He labeled this current group of players, "The finest I've been around in 35 years of coaching."
- Strength & Conditioning: He focused on great gains in strength training by sharing that in 2008 every positional group recorded a bench, clean, and squat max which was averaged by position. When the same exercise was completed again this spring the average gain per group was 691 pounds.
- Academic Performance: Cut said they've put great emphasis on academic performance, as the team's cumulative GPA was "well below" 3.0 when he arrived. For the past three semesters the team GPA has exceeded 3.0 and in the most recent semester the team recorded 254 A and B grades.
- Fan Support: His direct quote said it all. "This is a two-way street, get off your butts and come to Duke Football games. We can change the culture of Duke Football one way, together…absolutely together."