When David Cutcliffe looks back over his career, he'll no doubt treasure his time with the Manning brothers at Tennessee and Ole Miss. But what about this season at Duke?
Aside from resurrecting a program most left for dead, aside from winning eight straight games and competing for the ACC championship with the likes of Florida State, Cutcliffe can also look back at the year he won ACC coach of the year for the second year in a row and now, being named the Walter Camp national coach of the year.
What sweet vindication for a man fired by Ole Miss for not hiring his A.D.'s choices for assistant coaches.
After Pete Boone fired Cutcliffe, chancellor Robert Khayat said that "It's essential that the football program be competitive. It's not now-and-then competitive. It's every-year competitive," chancellor Robert Khayat told ESPN that "[w]e expect our program to be outstanding, to be moving forward. We will not accept ... mediocrity."
Since Cutcliffe was fired, Boone hired Ed Orgeron and Houston Nutt, neither of whom succeeded: Orgeron finished 3-9 and 0-8 in the SEC in 2007 and his career record there was 10-25.
Nutt was fired in 2011 with a 24-26 record.
Khayat retired in 2009; Boone in June of 2012.
Cutcliffe was fired despite winning consistently, if not at the highest levels. His problem was that he refused to be disloyal to his assistants and that he insisted on integrity.