Puneet Varma (Editor)

Duke Blue Devils

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
University  Duke University
Athletic director  Kevin White
Varsity teams  26 (27 in 2017–18)
NCAA  Division I
Location  Durham, North Carolina

Conference  Atlantic Coast Conference

The Duke Blue Devils are the athletic teams that represent Duke University. Its 26 varsity teams compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The name comes from the French "les Diables Bleus" or "the Blue Devils," which was the nickname given during World War I to the Chasseurs Alpins, the French Alpine light infantry battalion.



The Blue Devils have won sixteen NCAA National Championships. The women's golf team has won six (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2014), the men's basketball team has won five (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, and 2015), men's lacrosse has won three (2010, 2013 and 2014), 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, 44 of which have come since 1999–2000 (through 2008–09). 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 (18), 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) have also captured titles. Duke boasts the most ACC Championships in women's golf, women's tennis, and men's basketball; 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 five years, Duke has finished in the top 20 every year in the NACDA Director's Cup, an overall measure of an institution's athletic success. Most recently, Duke has finished 10th (2010), 17th (2009), 19th (2008), 11th (2007), eighth (2006), and fifth (2005). Duke has the smallest undergraduate enrollment of any institution that has been in the top 35 the past two years. Furthermore, Duke is the only school besides Stanford that has finished in the top 20 in the past three years that has fewer than 10,000 undergraduates.

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. 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%. Excluding students who leave or transfer in good academic standing, the graduation rate of student-athletes is 97%. In 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2011 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. There have been allegations that, like most other schools examined such as North Carolina, Duke's graduation rate may be inflated or be a result of athletes gravitating to easier courses and majors, though many have taken issue with such claims.


Duke University sponsors teams in twelve men's, twelve women's, and one coed NCAA sanctioned sports:

  • = Fencing in the NCAA is a coed sport with men's and women's squads.
  • ^Duke will launch a varsity softball team in 2017–2018.

    Men's basketball

    Duke University's men's basketball team is the fourth-winningest college basketball program of all-time, particularly since 1980 under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is nicknamed "Coach K". They have won the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship five times, all under Krzyzewski, which ties them with the University of North Carolina for the most of any ACC team, and have been in 16 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 19 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships (1960, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1978, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011), the most of any team in the ACC (the University of North Carolina has 17). Duke also has been the top seed in the ACC tournament 19 times (1954, 1958, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2010). Duke is second, behind only UCLA, in total weeks ranked as the number one team in the nation by the AP with 110 weeks. 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. The streak ended with the AP poll released on February 12, 2007.

    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.

    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.

    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. Through 2011, the Blue Devils have won seven ACC Championships, the third most in the ACC.


    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 coached by David Cutcliffe, who had been 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.


    Nate Freiman ('09), now a first baseman for the Oakland Athletics organization, holds Duke's career home run record (43), and the school's second-highest all-time batting average (.356).


    The team had a coaching transition in 2015.

    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. The team won national championships in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2014 as well as 13 consecutive ACC championships from 1995–2008. A number of successful professional golfers have gone through Duke's program. Jenny Chuasiriporn and Brittany Lang finished as runners-up in the U.S. Women's Open while still undergraduates in 1998 and 2005, respectively. Laetitia Beck, who won the Israeli championship at the age of 12 and was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 2011, played for the team. In 2014, Beck became the first Israeli to qualify for a major professional golf tour.

    Men's golf

    The men's golf team has won 19 conference championships:

  • Southern Conference (12): 1933, 1935–42, 1948–49, 1951
  • Atlantic Coast Conference (7): 1954, 1959, 1961–62, 1966, 2005, 2013
  • Their best finish in the NCAA Championship was second place in 1947.

    Duke golfers who have had successful professional careers include Art Wall, Jr. (14 PGA Tour wins including the 1959 Masters Tournament), Mike Souchak (15 PGA Tour wins), Skip Alexander (three PGA Tour wins), Joe Ogilvie (one PGA Tour win, four Web.com Tour wins), and Kevin Streelman (two PGA Tour wins).

    The Duke Men's Golf team has been coached by Jamie Gree since January 9, 2009. T.D. Luton is the assistant coach. There are 9 players on their roster. Duke was ranked 7th in the U.S. by Golfweek in 2015.

    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 won the national title in 2010 after defeating Notre Dame 6–5 in overtime and won their second national title in 2013 after defeating Syracuse 16–10. The Blue Devils then repeated in 2014, defeating Notre Dame 11-9 to win their second straight national championship and third in five years. They also reached the championship game in 2005 and 2007.

    The men's lacrosse team gained national attention in the 2006 lacrosse incident, where members of the team were falsely accused of raping an exotic dancer at a team party. The investigation led to the cancellation of the 2006 season and the resignation of coach Mike Pressler. Contradictions in the accuser's many changing stories, unimpeachable alibi evidence provided by the players, and misconduct of then-Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong led to all charges being dropped and the attorney general declaring the players innocent. Nifong was later removed and disbarred due to his misconduct in the case, and the team members who lost their season were granted another year of eligibility.

    Men's soccer

    The 1986 team won the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship .

    Women's soccer


    Duke Women's Soccer was established in 1988 under head coach Bill Hempen, who was a Duke Men's soccer coach prior to this position. Hempen was assisted by Carla Overbeck, a previous player at UNC Chapel Hill. While at UNC, Overbeck remained unbeaten for four seasons, and won four national championships. In 1999, while coaching at Duke, Overbeck played in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup as a captain. This team went on to win the world championship. In 2001, the Duke Women's Soccer program received a new head coach, Robbie Church, after Hempen decided to retire. Church was assisted by Overbeck and Billy Lesesne, who had coached with Church at Vanderbilt. In 2014, Lesesne left Duke for a head coaching job at Georgia, and was replaced by Erwin van Bennekom. In the 2015–2016 season, the Blue Devils women's soccer team made a run to the final of the Women's Soccer College Cup, which they lost to Penn State by a score of 1-0.


    The Blue Devils play on Koskinen Stadium. The Koskinen is also home to the men's soccer team, along with the men's and women's lacrosse teams. The stadium was dedicated in 1999 in honor of John and Patricia Koskinen. The stadium can hold around 7,000 fans. Kennedy Tower is a new addition to Koskinen Stadium. It was recently dedicated in 2015 in honor of Chris and Ana Kennedy. Chris is the Duke Senior Deputy Director of Athletes. The Kennedy Tower, offers press boxes and hospitality suites to the top of Koskinen Stadium. The teams locker rooms are in the Willam David Murray Building. The Duke Football team used to use the Murray Building from 1988–2002. Then the men's and women's soccer and lacrosse teams moved into the building. It houses the training room and weight room for all other Olympic Sports teams.

    Duke in the Pros

    Duke has had a number of players reach various professional leagues after their time at Duke. In the 2016 professional season, there are several Duke alums playing in the NWSL. Rebecca Moros, a Duke graduate in 2006, is playing in her 1st season with the New York Flash. During her time in the NWSP, she has also played with the Portland Thorns and FC Kansas City. She has also played in Japan as well for Kobe Leonessa. Mollie Pathman, who graduated from Duke in 2014, is playing for the Boston Breakers, entering into her 3rd season. Kim Decesare will be playing in her 2nd season with Sky Blue FC, after graduating from Duke. Decesare also played a season in Sweden with Eskilstuna United DFF. Natasha Anasi, who graduated in 2014, is playing for IBV of Iceland.

    Past Results

    NCAA Tournament Results


    NSCAA All-Americans

    The following alumni of the Duke Women's Soccer program received NSCAA All-American honors:

    ACC honorees

    NSCAA All-American alum Kelly Walbert was also named ACC Player of the Year in 1995; All-American Andi Melde received this honor in 1997. Casey McCluskey was named ACC Offensive Player in 2004. Carolyn Ford was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, and Natasha Anasi in 2011.

    ACC Rookies of the Year from Duke include Isis Dallis (1997), Casey McCluskey (2005), and Cassie Pecht (2012). At least 22 players received ACC All-Freshman honors, and at least 24 more received All-ACC honors.

    Other honorees

    In 2012, Natasha Anasi was a semi-finalist for the MAC's Hermann Trophy.

    Men and Women's swimming

    The team is coached by Dan Colella.


    In 1929 the Blue Devil Wrestling team was founded. The team competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and is coached by Oklahoma State University 1988 graduate Glen Lanham. The team competes on campus in the Card Gymnasium. In 2009, heavyweight Konrad Dudziak became Duke's first All-American placing 2nd in 2009 and 4th in 2010. Conner Hartmann became the program's first three time All-American, finishing 5th in 2014, 6th in 2015, and 7th in 2016.

    Duke's best finish at the NCAA Tournament was 28th in 2015 under Coach Lanham. In the same season, Duke had five wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Tournament and beat Big Ten opponents for the first time in program history.

  • ACC Championships:
  • Christian Smith 125: 1st (2004)
    Adam Benitez 133: 1st (2004)
    Levi Craig 174: 1st (2004)
    Frank Cornely 184: 1st (2004), 1st (2005)
    Konrad Dudziak HWT: 1st (2009), 1st (2010)
    Brandon Gambucci 133: 2nd (2013)
    Immanuel Kerr-Brown 157: 3rd (2014), 4th (2015)
    Conner Hartmann 197: 3rd (2014), 1st (2015), 1st (2016)
    Mitch Finesilver 133: 2nd (2015), 2nd (2016)
    Marcus Cain 149: 3rd (2015)
    Jacob Kasper 184: 2nd (2015)

  • NCAA Championships:
  • Konrad Dudziak HWT: 2nd (2009), 4th (2010)
    Conner Hartmann 197: 5th (2014), 6th (2015), 7th (2016)

    NCAA team championships

    Duke has 16 NCAA team national championships.

  • Men's (9)
  • Basketball (5): 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015
  • Lacrosse (3): 2010, 2013, 2014
  • Soccer (1): 1986
  • Women's (7)
  • Golf (6): 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014
  • Tennis (1): 2009
  • see also:
  • ACC NCAA team championships
  • List of NCAA schools with the most NCAA Division I championships
  • 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.


    There have been numerous All-Americans in Duke University history. As of March 2006, 307 athletes have been honored 470 times as All-Americans. 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); wrestling (3, 2). 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).


    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.

    History of the mascot

    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. 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. These fears were partly alleviated when it was revealed that the name was military and patriotic rather than anti-religious; the name actually refers to the Chasseurs Alpins, also known as "les diables bleus" ("The Blue Devils"), a French military unit which had impressed many Duke students and alumni returning home from the Western Front. The nickname of the Chasseurs Alpins was derived from the blue jacket and blue-grey breeches worn as part of their World War I-era uniform. Even with this explanation, however, that year's 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.

    Fight songs

    See: Blue and White (Duke fight song) and Fight! Blue Devils, Fight!


    University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Wake Forest University


    Duke Blue Devils Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Duke Blue Devils baseball
    Duke Blue Devils football
    The Hungover Games