Duke Fires Football Coach Ted Roof After 1-11 Finish

Monday, November 26th 2007, 1:55 pm
By: News On 6

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Duke fired Ted Roof on Monday, two days after the Blue Devils concluded a 1-11 season with their ninth straight loss. Athletic director Joe Alleva said at a news conference that he decided to fire Roof on Sunday night and informed him of the decision Monday morning.

``This business is very results-oriented, and when you win four games in four years, it makes you take a hard look at what you're doing,'' Alleva said. ``I felt that we had to make a change because of that. There's nothing else in Ted's character or integrity that would lead to a change here.''

The coach's career record dipped to 6-45 after a 20-14 overtime loss to North Carolina, the Blue Devils' fourth straight to their main rival. Duke has lost at least 10 games in three straight seasons, including a winless 2006.

After snapping a 22-game losing streak with a victory at Northwestern, the Blue Devils lost nine straight to end this season: a slide that ranks second only to Minnesota (10) among active losing streaks for teams from the six Bowl Championship Series conferences.

The Blue Devils have lost 25 straight Atlantic Coast Conference games and have endured three consecutive winless seasons in league play since they upset Clemson in November 2004.

And while they came closer this season to snapping that streak, four ACC losses were by 11 or fewer points, it wasn't enough to merit a fifth full season for Roof.

``We haven't won a conference game in three years,'' Alleva said. ``We need to start somewhere, and winning conference games is a pretty good place to start.''

He came to Durham in 2002 as Duke's defensive coordinator. He took over the program midway through the following season as its interim head coach after Carl Franks was fired. Roof led the Blue Devils to two wins in their final five games, one-third of his career total, it would turn out, and that prompted Alleva to remove the interim tag.

But the big victories never came, with the results instead dwindling steadily from 2-9 in 2004 to 1-10 the following year to last year's miserable 0-12 finish.

Optimism briefly spiked in the wake of the 20-14 victory at Northwestern in September, students rushed vacant Wallace Wade Stadium and tore down a goal post, but then it was the same old Blue Devils, losing at the buzzer to Navy the next week.

That defeat started Duke's current slide, and the most recent defeat might have been the toughest to take. As Nick Maggio's 40-yard game-winning field goal sailed toward the goal post, someone gave Roof a victory bath: a premature celebration, because the kick went wide left.

Though Roof was optimistic about the team's future, telling those close to the program that Duke could be bowl eligible as quickly as 2008, there was widespread speculation about whether the coach would be back.

One day after the North Carolina loss, men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, long considered the public face of this elite university, urged the administration to act swiftly and decisively, either to retain Roof or fire him.

``You support Ted, let's give him an opportunity to grow and don't let this linger,'' Krzyzewski said after his team's victory over Eastern Kentucky on Sunday. ``Something's going to happen otherwise, then do that. But we need to (act quickly). And then we need to develop an attitude that we can win here, which we can. Duke football can win.''