Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Cutcliffe is one of Bear's Boys.
Wallace Wade. Bear Bryant. Sugar Bowl.
Certainly these pertain to the tradition and history of Alabama, right?
Guess what? They are part of Duke's legacy and current state as well.
Coach Cutcliffe is a Birmingham native and a 'Bama graduate. As an undergraduate at Alabama, Cutcliffe worked as a student assistant coach under head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He knows the 'Bama mentality and the pride the program carries. He got a good look at it, up close, in stints at Tennessee and as the head coach at Ole Miss.
To this day, Cutcliffe carries in his wallet a newspaper clipping of Bryant’s along with a ticket stub from Alabama’s 28-17 win over Auburn at Legion Field in Birmingham on November 28, 1981 when Bryant became college football’s all-time winningest coach.
The other commonality the two programs share is the 1945 Sugar Bowl. Sportswriter Grantland Rice called the contest, “one of the greatest thrillers of all time,” as Duke came from behind twice to defeat Alabama, 29-26.
Tide fans at Durham this Saturday will see Duke honor the remaining members of that squad in a halftime ceremony.
And then there's coach Wallace Wade. The man whose bronze likeness stands outside of Bryant-Denny left Tuscaloosa to coach at...Duke. As even the youngest Tide fan knows, Wade was hired as the Tide's coach in 1923. Over the next seven years, Wade's team won three national championships and went to the Rose Bowl in 1925, 1926, and 1930.
That's when Wade "shocked the college football world" by moving to Durham. His winning ways continued, as he led the Blue Devils to an undefeated 1938 campaign (a team that was unscored upon) until they met USC in the 1939 Rose Bowl, losing 7-3.
Wade led his team back to the Rose Bowl where Duke lost the 1942 game to Oregon State. That game was played at Duke due to the recent attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
When the Crimson Tide enters the stadium Saturday, they will see the name Wallace Wade. Why? Because the stadium's named for the program's greatest coach.