Duke's White expects football to compete "at the highest level"
Posted October 30, 2008
When Kevin White took over as athletics director at Duke May 31, David Cutcliffe's team had not taken its first official snap. But White knew what to expect.
"I knew I was coming to a place that had just hired a great football coach in David Cutcliffe, having had the opportunity to watch David closely at the University of Mississippi," White said.
White believes Cutcliffe will rewrite the recent history of Duke football. Moreover, he believes the school can return to its glory days, when Coach Wallace Wade made Duke one of the top programs in the country.
"You look at the resurgence of Northwestern, or Vanderbilt, or Stanford, and notwithstanding Duke, I do think we have a great chance as we move into the next generation here of competing at the highest level," he said.
Duke has stepped up its recruiting, but athletics will not seek any change in admissions policies.
"If they have an opportunity to play at the highest level athletically, but to attend an elite academic institution, they're more inclined to make that decision today than they ever were in the history of higher education - because they're very savvy consumers," he said.
White seems pleased with the way Duke fans have supported the Blue Devils this season at Wallace Wade Stadium. One of his top priorities is a total makeover for stadium. Another is keeping Cutcliffe.
"We've got some people that a lot of people would love to have,” White said. “We're very fortunate to have them. We've got great leadership in each and every one of our head coaching positions and we'll always work like heck to keep them here in Durham."
One of those, of course, is basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. White said he watched 40 minutes of a Duke basketball practice on Wednesday and was impressed by Krzyzewski’s passion for teaching the game.
He said he wants to make sure Krzyzewski gets what he needs to help the Blue Devils continue to be successful.
"There are a lot of things that one could take for granted,” White said. “But I think we've got to be careful not to do that, and just find ways to continue to promote and advance all the things that he's been trying to do here."