Cutcliffe’s three principles of team-building.On August 20, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
[MUSICAL INTRO] Brodhead: When you first came, eventually, you would recruit your first class and eventually your second class, and eventually your third class. But you had to start coaching with all the players we already had. And I’ll tell you, one of the reasons I really wanted you to come to Miami is the first Duke event I ever did in Miami—do any of you remember this event? A mother of a high school student marched her son, who had just been accepted to Duke, down to the front row because that’s where you should sit. Right? This was Thad Lewis, who came to us before you and had to start as a quarterback his first week of his
freshman year. Is that right? Cutcliffe: Absolutely.
Brodhead: At every game thereafter? That’s the kind of materials you had there. What’s your recipe if somebody tries to do it somewhere else? How do you rebuild a team that doesn’t
just need a little cosmetic surgery, but really needs to be reconstituted from the bottom up? Cutcliffe: Well, I told them from the beginning, three things: one, conditioning. Brodhead: Yep.
Cutcliffe: And we did that. That first team, including Thad, collectively lost 597 pounds from January to August [LAUGHTER]. The second thing is discipline. We don’t know what we do to people that are late, because we’ve never had anybody late. [LAUGHTER] They understood that. So young people want discipline. And they want a structured environment, and we knew we were going to provide that, but we got discipline. And the third thing is really simple, and I just don’t know many people myself— we do something that’s very simple
and that’s say what you mean and mean what you say. And when you do that with young people,
if you say you’re going to do something and you do it, you gain trust. If you gain trust, even if you didn’t recruit them, then they care and they’re going to respond. And Thad Lewis, right now, is at Duke University working out. Abraham Kromah—another one.
We get those players back that we didn’t recruit, all the time. Thad stays there in the off season consistently, because they know that we’re going to say what we mean and mean what we say. There’s a great trust there. [MUSICAL OUTRO]