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Duke Blue Devils
Duke Blue Devils logo.svg
University Duke University
Conference Atlantic Coast Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletics director Kevin White
Location Durham, NC
Varsity teams 26
Football stadium Wallace Wade Stadium
Basketball arena Cameron Indoor Stadium
Baseball stadium Jack Coombs Field
Nickname Blue Devils
Fight song Blue and White
Colors Duke blue[1] and White



Duke University's 26 varsity sports teams, known as the Blue Devils, compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The name comes from the French "les Diables Bleus" or "the Blue Devils,"[2] which was the nickname given during World War I to the Chasseurs Alpins, the French Alpine light infantry battalion.

The women's golf team has won five national championships (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007),[3] the men's basketball team has won three (1991, 1992, and 2001), and the men's soccer (1986) and women's tennis (2009) teams have won one each. Duke's major historic rival, especially in basketball, has been the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (see Duke-Carolina rivalry).

Duke has also captured 119 ACC Championships, 42 of which have come since 1999-2000 (through 2008-09).[4] Duke's teams hold the longest streak of consecutive ACC Championships in women's tennis (14), women's golf (13), men's basketball (5), women's basketball (5) and volleyball (4, tied). The men's basketball (17), women's golf (16), and women's tennis (16) lead individual programs, while men's tennis (12), volleyball (9), football (7), men's cross country (7), men's lacrosse (7), men's golf (6), men's soccer (5), women's basketball (5), baseball (3), women's cross country (2) and women's lacrosse (1)[4] have also captured titles. Duke boasts the most ACC Championships in women's golf, women's tennis, and men's basketball (tied for first); the second most in men's tennis and volleyball; and third most in women's basketball, women's cross country and women's lacrosse.

In the past ten years, Duke has finished in the top 30 every year in the NACDA Director's Cup, an overall measure of an institution's athletic success. Most recently, Duke finished 11th in 2007, eighth in 2006 and fifth in 2005.[5][6][7] Duke has the smallest undergraduate enrollment of any institution that has been in the top 35 the past two years.[6][7] Furthermore, Duke is the only school besides Stanford that has finished in the top 11 in the past three years that has fewer than 15,000 undergraduates.[6][7]

Duke teams that have been ranked in the top ten nationally in the 2000s include men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's lacrosse, women's field hockey, and men's and women's golf. Eight of these teams were ranked either first or second in the country during 2004-05.[8] According to a 2006 evaluation conducted by the NCAA, Duke's student-athletes have the highest graduation rate of any institution in the nation at 91%.[9] Excluding students who leave or transfer in good academic standing, the graduation rate of student-athletes is 97%.[10] In 2005, 2006, and 2007, Duke ranked first among Division I schools in the National Collegiate Scouting Association Power Rankings—a combination of the institution's Director's Cup standing, its athletic graduation rate, and its academic rank in U.S. News & World Report.[11][12][13] There have been allegations that, like most other schools examined, Duke's graduation rate may be inflated or be a result of athletes gravitating to easier courses and majors, though some have taken issue with such claims.[14][15][16]


History of the mascot

"Les Diables Bleus" French military unit

As World War I ended, Duke's Board of Trustees, then called the "Trinity College Board of Trustees", lifted their quarter century ban of football on campus leading to an interest in naming the athletic teams.[17] The team was then known as the Trinity Eleven, the Blue and White, or the Methodists (as opposed to the Baptists of nearby rival Wake Forest University). Because of the ambiguity, the student newspaper, the Trinity Chronicle (now called The Chronicle) launched a campaign to create a new mascot. Nominations for a new team name included Catamounts, Grizzlies, Badgers, Dreadnaughts, and Captains. The Trinity Chronicle editor narrowed the many nominations down to those that utilized the school colors of dark blue and white. The narrowed list consisted of Blue Titans, Blue Eagles, Polar Bears, Blue Devils, Royal Blazes, and Blue Warriors. None of the nominations proved to be a clear favorite, but the name Blue Devils elicited criticism that could potentially engender opposition on campus. That year, the football season passed with no official selection.

During the 1922–1923 academic year, campus student leaders and the editors of the two other student publications, The Archive and The Chanticleer, decided that the newspaper staff should decide the name on their own because the nomination process had proved inconclusive. Editor-in-chief William H. Lander and managing editor Mike Bradshaw began referring to the athletic teams as the Blue Devils. Though the name was not officially used that year, no opposition to the name arose. The Chronicle's staff continued to use the name and eventually “Blue Devils” became the official mascot and nickname of the Duke athletics program.

Men’s basketball

Duke tips off against North Carolina on February 9, 2006

Duke University's men's basketball team is the fourth-winningest college basketball program of all-time, the team has had success over the past 25 years under coach Mike Krzyzewski (often simply called 'Coach K'), after whom the basketball court is named.

Duke has won three NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships and been in 14 Final Fours. Seventy-one players have been drafted in the NBA Draft. Additionally, Duke has had an Academic All-American on the team fourteen years. Duke has 18 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships (1960, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1978, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010), tied with the most of any team in the ACC with the University of North Carolina's 17. Duke also has won the regular season title 18 times (1954, 1958, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006).[18] Duke is second, behind only UCLA, in total weeks ranked as the number one team in the nation by the AP with 110 weeks.[19] The Blue Devils have the second longest streak in the AP Top 25 in history with 200 consecutive appearances from 1996 to 2007. This streak only trails UCLA's 221 consecutive polls from 1966-1980 as the longest of all-time.[20] The streak ended with the AP poll released on February 12, 2007.[21]

Women's basketball

During the 1990s and 2000s, the Duke women's basketball program has become a national powerhouse. Led by coach Gail Goestenkors from 1992-2007, Duke made ten NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, seven Elite Eight appearances, four Final Four appearances, and two appearances in the NCAA Championship game during her tenure.[22]

In the 2000-01 season, the Blue Devils posted a 30-4 record, won the ACC Tournament and ACC regular season championships, and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The 2001-02 season produced similar success. She led the Blue Devils to a 31-4 record and an NCAA Final Four appearance. Duke became the first ACC school to produce an undefeated 19-0 record in the ACC by winning the regular season and Tournament titles.

Goestenkors led the Blue Devils to an ACC-record 35-2 ledger in the 2002-03 season and their second straight NCAA Final Four appearance. For the second consecutive year, Duke posted a 19-0 record against ACC opponents.

In 2003-04, with Player of the year Alana Beard leading the way, the Blue Devils advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight, boasting a 30-4 record, and won a fourth-straight Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title and a fifth-straight ACC Tournament championship. Duke also broke the University of Connecticut's 76-game home winning streak with a 68-67 buzzer-beater victory in Hartford, Connecticut.[23]

The 2006-07 season ended with a 32-2 record and notched the school's first ever undefeated regular season (30-0). This also set an NCAA-record seventh straight 30-win season. Goestenkors is often known as the "winningest coach not to have won a championship," having finished runner-up two times in fifteen years.

On April 18, 2007, Joanne P. McCallie, or Coach P, was introduced as the new coach of Duke's women's basketball team after Goestenkors left for the University of Texas.[24][25][26] To date, the Blue Devils have won 5 ACC Championships, the second most in the ACC.


Wallace Wade Stadium, home to Duke football and site of the 1942 Rose Bowl.

The most famous Duke football season came in 1938, when Wallace Wade was head coach and the "Iron Dukes" were born. Wade shocked the college football world by leaving Alabama for Duke in 1930, later rationalizing the move by saying that Duke shared his belief that a school should provide its athletes with a strong academic background. Wade's success at Alabama (three national championships) translated well to Duke's program, most notably in 1938, when his "Iron Dukes" went unscored upon the entire regular season. In fact, that Duke team is one of three in college football history to have gone undefeated, unscored upon, and untied in the regular season. Duke reached their first Rose Bowl appearance, where they lost 7-3 when USC scored a touchdown in the final minute of the game on a pass from a second string quarterback to a third string tight end. Wade's Blue Devils lost another Rose Bowl to Oregon State in 1942, this one held at Duke's home stadium in Durham, North Carolina due to Pearl Harbor. Wade's achievements placed him in the Hall of Fame.

The football program also had a string of successful years in the late 1980s when the team was coached by Steve Spurrier. Spurrier led the Blue Devils to three consecutive winning seasons from 1987-1989, culminating with the Blue Devils sharing the ACC title in 1989 and playing in the All-American Bowl, where the Blue Devils lost to Texas Tech. The 1989 ACC title was the last title won by a school in the state of North Carolina until Wake Forest won their second ACC crown in 2006.

The team also rose to prominence in 1994, the first season under coach Fred Goldsmith. The team raced out to an 8–1 record, and was briefly ranked as high as #13 in the country before losing the last two games of the season 24–23 to North Carolina State and 41–40 to arch-rival North Carolina. The 1994 team played in the program's first New Years Day Bowl game since 1962, falling to Wisconsin 34–21 in the Hall of Fame Bowl, now known as the Outback Bowl.

The Blue Devils are currently coached by David Cutcliffe, who previously was head coach at Ole Miss and offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. They have won seven ACC Football Championships, which is the fourth most in the ACC trailing only Clemson, FSU, and Maryland. Ten ACC Football Players of the Year have come from Duke, the most in the ACC. Additionally, three 3 Pro Football Hall of Famers have come through Duke's program, second only to the Miami Hurricanes who have had 4 Hall of Famers, for the most in the ACC.

Duke is consistently ranked at or near the top of the list of Division I-A schools which graduate nearly all of their football players. Duke has topped the list 12 years, earning it the most Academic Achievement Awards of any university. Notre Dame has been honored six times, while Boston College and Northwestern have won the award four times each.[27]

Men's lacrosse

The men's lacrosse program has risen in prominence to challenge the traditional lacrosse powers such as Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Princeton, and Syracuse, as well as more recent contenders like North Carolina and Virginia. The team reached the national championship game in 2005 and 2007, but lost to Johns Hopkins by a single goal and accumulating season records of 17-3 both times.[28][29]

The men's lacrosse team gained national attention in the 2006 lacrosse incident, where members of the team were accused of raping an exotic dancer at a team party. The fallout from this accusation led to the cancellation of the 2006 season, and the resignation of coach Mike Pressler. Contradictions in the accuser's story and the actions of then Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong led to all charges being dropped, and the Duke team members who lost their season were granted another year of eligibility.

Women's golf

While the men's basketball team gets the most press, the women's golf team has recently been the most successful team on campus. In the 2000-2005 seasons, Duke's head-to-head record was 796-45-3, a winning percentage of .945.[30] The team won national championships in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, and 2007 as well as 13 consecutive ACC championships from 1995-2008.[4] A number of successful professional golfers have gone through Duke's program. Jenny Chausiriporn and Brittany Lang finished as runners-up in the U.S. Women's Open while still undergraduates in 1998 and 2005, respectively.

ACC Athletes of the Year

The following Duke athletes have been honored as an ACC Athlete of the Year. The men’s award, the Anthony J. McKelvin Award, began when the ACC was formed in 1954. The women’s award, the Mary Garber Award, began in 1990.

Male Athlete of the Year
Year Athlete Sport

1954 Joel Shankle Track & Field
1956 Dave Sime Track & Field/Basketball
1960 Mike McGee Football
1963 Art Heyman Basketball
1964 Jeff Mullins Basketball
1988 Danny Ferry Basketball
1989 Danny Ferry Basketball
1990 Clarkston Hines Football
1991 Christian Laettner Basketball
1992 Christian Laettner Basketball
1999 Elton Brand Basketball
2001 Shane Battier Basketball
2006 J.J. Redick Basketball
Female Athlete of the Year
Year Athlete Sport

1998 Vanessa Webb Tennis
2003 Alana Beard Basketball
2004 Alana Beard Basketball
2007 Lindsey Harding Basketball


There have been numerous All-Americans in Duke University history. As of March 2006, 307 athletes have been honored 470 times as All-Americans.[31] In men's sports, this status has been achieved 297 times by 204 athletes. In women's sports, it has occurred 172 times by 103 athletes. The breakdown for men's sports is as follows (times, number of different athletes): baseball (13, 8); basketball (55, 31); cross country (3, 2); fencing (9, 5); football (60, 53); golf (12, 9); lacrosse (57, 37); soccer (42, 28); swimming and diving (3, 3); tennis (26, 15); track and field (17, 13). The breakdown for women's sports is as follows (times, number of different athletes): basketball (14, 8); cross country (8, 6); fencing (4, 2); field hockey (19, 12); golf (31, 16); lacrosse (23, 11); rowing (5, 3); soccer (10, 8); swimming and diving (1, 1); tennis (36, 22); track and field (15, 9); volleyball (7, 5). Wrestling joined the list in 2009 after heavyweight Konrad Dudziak's performance in the championships, losing to Mark Ellis of Missouri in the finals.


Duke Olympians [32]
Athlete Sport Location Country Medal/Note
Joel Shankle Track & Field 1956 Melbourne United States Bronze in 110 Hurdles
Dave Sime Track & Field 1960 Rome United States Silver in 100 Meters
Jeff Mullins M Basketball 1964 Tokyo United States Team Won Gold
Bob Wheeler Track & Field 1972 Munich United States Semifinals in 1500 run
Al Buehler* Track & Field 1972 Munich United States Team Manager
Tate Armstrong M Basketball 1976 Montreal United States Team Won Gold
Cameron Hall M Basketball 1976 Montreal Canada Team Placed 4th
Nancy Hogshead Swimming 1980 Moscow United States United States Boycotted Games
Nancy Hogshead Swimming 1984 Los Angeles United States 3 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal
Dan Meagher M Basketball 1984 Los Angeles Canada Team Placed 4th
Tom Kain Soccer 1984 Los Angeles United States Injured, Did Not Compete
Bert Govig Wrestling 1984 Los Angeles United States Injured, Did Not Compete
Al Buehler* Track and Field 1984 Los Angeles United States Team Manager
Al Buehler* Track and Field 1988 Seoul United States Team Manager
Christian Laettner M Basketball 1992 Barcelona United States Team Won Gold
Mike Krzyzewski* M Basketball 1992 Barcelona United States Assistant Coach, Team Won Gold
John Moore Rowing 1992 Barcelona United States 8th in Men's Pair
Randy Jones Bobsled 1994 Lillehammer United States 13th in 2-Man
Grant Hill M Basketball 1996 Atlanta United States Team Won Gold
Curt Clausen Track & Field 1996 Atlanta United States 50th in 20k Race Walk
Leslie Marx Fencing 1996 Atlanta United States Top 16 in Épée
Horace Holden Canoe/Kayak 1996 Atlanta United States 11th in 2-Man Whitewater Slalom
Will Martin Yachting 1996 Atlanta United States 23rd in Single-Handed Dinghy
Carla Overbeck* W Soccer 1996 Atlanta United States Team Won Gold
Liz Tchou* Field Hockey 1996 Atlanta United States Team Placed 5th
Randy Jones Bobsled 1998 Nagano United States 5th in 4-Man
Crawford Palmer M Basketball 2000 Sydney France Team Won Silver
Greg Newton M Basketball 2000 Sydney Canada Team Placed 7th
Curt Clausen Track and Field 2000 Sydney United States 22nd in 50k Race Walk
Evan Whitfield M Soccer 2000 Sydney United States Team Placed 4th
Vanessa Webb W Tennis 2000 Sydney Canada Competed in Doubles
Carla Overbeck W Soccer 2000 Sydney United States Team Won Silver
Lynda Blutreich* Track & Field 2000 Sydney United States 11th in Javelin Qualifying
Randy Jones Bobsled 2002 Salt Lake City United States Silver in 4-Man
Curt Clausen Track & Field 2004 Athens United States 32nd in 50k Race Walk
Carlos Boozer M Basketball 2004 Athens United States Team Won Bronze
Jilian Schwartz Track & Field 2004 Athens United States Competed in Pole Vault
Gail Goestenkors* W Basketball 2004 Athens United States Assistant Coach, Team Won Gold
Randy Jones Bobsled 2006 Torino United States His Fourth Olympics
Carlos Boozer M Basketball 2008 Beijing United States Team Won Gold
Mike Krzyzewski* M Basketball 2008 Beijing United States Head Coach, Team Won Gold
Shannon Rowbury Track & Field 2008 Beijing United States Qualified for 1,500-m final
Rebecca Smith W Soccer 2008 Beijing United States
Rebecca Ward Fencing 2008 Beijing United States Bronze in Individual Sabre and Team Sabre

Note: * indicates Duke coach at time of participation in Olympics

Other news

In 2008, five Duke graduates qualified for the Olympic marathon trials, more than any other university.[33]


  1. ^ Duke Blue - Duke University Archives
  2. ^ King, William E. Why a Blue Devil? The Duke Dialogue. 28 Feb 1992.
  3. ^ THREE-PEAT: Women's Golf Wins Third Straight National Championship -—Official Athletics Web site of Duke University
  4. ^ a b c Duke's ACC Championships. Retrieved on July 24, 2009.
  5. ^ Sports Academy Directors' Cup (2007). National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. 1 July 2007.
  6. ^ a b c Sports Academy Directors' Cup (2006). National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. 29 June 2006.
  7. ^ a b c Sports Academy Directors' Cup (2005). National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. 2005.
  8. ^ Duke Athletics: Rankings. URL accessed 6 Jun 2006.
  9. ^ Duke 1st in new NCAA evaluation. The Chronicle. 10 Nov 2006.
  10. ^ Faculty discuss role of Duke student athletes. The Chronicle. 10 Nov 2006.
  11. ^ 2005 NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings. National Collegiate Scouting Association, 2005. Retrieved on August 7, 2007.
  12. ^ 2006 NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings. National Collegiate Scouting Association, 2006. Retrieved on August 7, 2007.
  13. ^ 2007 NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings. National Collegiate Scouting Association, 2007. Retrieved on August 23, 2007.
  14. ^ [1]. University of Central Florida, 2004. Retrieved on March 15, 2010
  15. ^ In Defense of Duke: Dispelling the Myths Behind the Hatred | Bleacher Report. The Bleacher Report. Retrieved on March 15, 2010.
  16. ^ Tackling Favoritism for Athletes - Inside Higher Ed., 2006. Retrieved on March 15, 2010.
  17. ^ King, William E. Why a Blue Devil?. The Duke Dialogue. 28 Feb 1992.
  18. ^ ACC Champions. Accessed on 29 June 2006.
  19. ^ NCAA stats from
  20. ^ Florida runaway preseason No. 1. Associated Press. Accessed on 6 Nov 2006.
  21. ^ Duke Knocked Out Of Top 25 For First Time Since 1995-96. All Headline News. Accessed on 4 Mar 2007.
  22. ^ Women's Basketball - W Basketball -—Official Athletics Web site of Duke University
  23. ^ Final Four Preview: Connecticut -
  24. ^ Joanne P. McCallie Takes Reins Of Duke's Women's Basketball Program :: After seven years and 149 wins at MSU, Coach P makes the move to the ACC
  25. ^ Sports - NBC 17
  26. ^ | Getting to know her team
  27. ^ SMU Receives 2006 AFCA Academic Achievement Award. American Football Coaches Association. 2006.
  28. ^ Sports Briefs: Duke lacrosse in Final Four Post-Gazette, May 21, 2007. Retrieved on June 21, 2007.
  29. ^ Wojciechowski, Joe. Duke, Hopkins endured low points to return to championship game. ESPN. Retrieved on June 21, 2007.
  30. ^ Golf-first ranking. Golf Digest. Sept 2005.
  31. ^ Duke University All American's. URL accessed 30 June 2006.
  32. ^ All-Time Olympians. URL accessed 30 Jun 2006.
  33. ^ Roth, John. Duke Today: MarathonU. Duke Today, April 17, 2008. Retrieved on May 24, 2008.

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