Athletics Magazine Articles

March 16, 2022



Jeff Capel '97

I got a chance to work with him for seven years and to be around him all the time, so I saw all the things he did to help people, to assist people, that no one really knew about. They weren’t publicized, he just did it out of the kindness of his heart.

March 16, 2022


My son [Frankie] has Down syndrome, and you need to know that he is a full-time college student at Clemson. He is a senior getting ready to graduate in April. Just like any other college grad he is going to have a job when he graduates. Clemson LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) is a transitional post-secondary experience for students with intellectual disability.

March 16, 2022


Michael Kruse

Mike Krzyzewski called Shane Battier. This was in the summer of 1999. Krzyzewski was approaching the midpoint of his peerless career at Duke, and Battier, too, was halfway through his own stellar tenure at the school. But the situation at the time was one of unease. The Blue Devils had just had one of their best seasons ever and yet had ended it by losing a national championship game they were favored to win. Krzyzewski, meanwhile, had just had hip replacement surgery.

November 25, 2021

People often warn, “Don’t start a company with your friends.” But Kevin Gehsmann B.S.E. ’19, Clark Bulleit B.S.E. ’19, now a first-year medical student at Duke, and Tim Skapek B.S.E. ’20, all former Duke football players and Pratt School of Engineering alumni, didn’t listen to that advice.

August 24, 2021


Zach Weisberg

At Duke University, surfing is not a career. Period.

June 28, 2021


Scott Huler

The Duke men’s lacrosse team finished the regular season ranked second in the nation, tied for the ACC championship. The players were the top seed in their bracket in the NCAA. And they made it to the semifinals. But the unique complexity of the 2021 men’s lacrosse team found expression moments after a one-goal win over Syracuse in March, its first ACC game.

March 20, 2021

Several years ago, I came upon striking photographic negatives of Duke students… boxing? Was that a real thing? A little research in the University Archives revealed a short but remarkable athletic program—one worth remembering.

Scrim of Crazies at COVID Duke game

March 19, 2021


Scott Huler

It was going to be a strange season anyhow. A roster full of freshman talent that wasn’t instantly finding its way; some surprising early losses; and the sudden midseason decision by freshman Jalen Johnson to opt out of the remainder of his Duke basketball career and prepare for the NBA draft.

September 28, 2020


Preston Bowman

The sun has barely risen over the tree line by the time I’m on the road, sweat in my eyes and gasping for breath. The sound of my footsteps echoes through the empty streets. My heart pounds in my chest as I finish the last section of my run, giving it everything I have left. As I round the corner in front of my house, the wind howling in my ears, I know something is very wrong. My left calf feels like it has been ripped apart. 

February 26, 2020


Scott Huler

At the end of a nice three-pass sequence started by senior Corey Pilson, the ball ends up in the hands of junior Nate Tewell streaking inside. Tewell catches the ball under the hoop and completes the play with a smooth reverse, a high-level play by high-level players.

Image of Chris Crabtree with some fans

November 19, 2019


Scott Huler

The Holly Springs Salamanders, losing 8-0 in the bottom of the ninth on a humid Piedmont evening, are down to their last at-bat. With desperation baserunners the ’Manders’ only sliver of hope, rising junior Chris Crabtree faced a three-and-one pitch well out of the strike zone. There are times when you take that pitch, work the base on balls, get a runner on, and hope against hope.

May 17, 2019


Lucas Hubbard

Ryan Bergamini discusses “community” to a degree that the combination of his face and the word has become a meme. On East Campus, he’s the senior making signs that encourage the first-years in the dorm where he’s a resident assistant to become TROUTs (Trinity Residents Organizing a Unified Trinity, with the slogan stating that “TROUTs swim together”).

May 16, 2019


Shane Ryan

It’s the last day of March in 2001, and the Duke Blue Devils, led by faultless demigods Shane Battier ’01 and Jason Williams ’03, are hours from facing the hated Maryland Terrapins in the Final Four.

September 25, 2014

On a Friday night two Octobers ago, fans flocked to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the fourth annual Countdown to Craziness. In the locker room, the players suited up for the opening-season bluewhite scrimmage. Meanwhile, Ryan Kelly traveled through a hallway in the stadium’s recesses, towing an ice chest heavy with Gatorade and water. But as he moved to switch hands, he lost hold of the handle. In one swift motion, the chest slipped to the floor, spilling ice and liquid everywhere.

July 18, 2014


Clem Richardson

"It was a rough time for us, when they accused our boys of that heinous crime.”

We were in a midtown Manhattan hotel conference room in 2007, attendees at a Duke University Black Alumni Connection meeting, my first. I thought I had misheard the speaker, an impassioned former Duke athlete who by the end of his speech had pledged $60,000 to either DUBAC or the Reggie Howard Scholarship Fund—I no longer recall which.

But his words I never forgot.

February 27, 2014

Athletes who suffer from torn-cartilage injuries may soon be in luck. Mimicking the strength and suppleness of natural cartilage is tricky, but Duke researchers have developed a synthetic version that comes pretty close to the real thing.

Articular cartilage, the tissue between bones and joints, enables us to bend body parts like elbows, hips, and knees. But overuse or injury can lead to wear-and-tear on cartilage, making movement painful and difficult.


February 18, 2014


Andrew Clark

Box scores in the National Basketball Association look far different than they did thirty years ago—or even ten, for that matter. these days, they’re canvassed in acronyms such as PER (Player efficiency rating) and 3PAr (3-Point Attempt Rate), which look more like robot names than a way to measure a basketball game.

Photo by Megan Morr

November 14, 2013


Bridget Booher

On a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon in late September, the Duke women's varsity soccer team trails Virginia Tech 0-1. Seven minutes into the second half, forward Kelly Cobb '15 falls to the field clutching her right leg. Cobb is considered one of the best goal-scorers in the country; she played on the 2012 U.S. World Cup team that won the gold in Japan. But she’s also been plagued by injuries that have warranted surgery, physical therapy, and rehab.

November 12, 2013

“Ki’ap!” “Ki’ap!” “Ki’ap!” “Ki’ap!” “Ki’ap!” “Ki’ap!”

The cries pop and echo across the room like a lit pack of firecrackers. Hands poised in loose fists, eyes narrowed in fierce concentration, nearly two dozen warriors advance upon invisible opponents beneath squares of fluorescent light in a room lined with blue foam. The traditional war whoop of taekwondo, ki’ap, helps focus the mind, flex the core, and summon the fighting spirit.

November 12, 2013

During the second quarter of this year’s football homecoming game against Troy University, Michael Holyfield ’79 finally got the respect he deserved. The first African-American Duke Blue Devil mascot was given a letterman jacket by the athletics department.

“We wanted to honor him and the historical contributions he made,” said Jon Jackson, associate director of athletics for external affairs, in a statement.

Image of basketball hoop

September 19, 2013


Bill Wheeler

In February 2002, Bill Wheeler M.B.A. ’93 decided to treat family friend James Suttenfield to a Duke home basketball game. Wheeler had grown up playing with Suttenfield’s son, and the elder Suttenfield had become a mentor after Wheeler’s father died. Wheeler knew Suttenfield had been awarded three Bronze Stars during World War II and had gone on to play varsity basketball at the University of Richmond.

July 25, 2013

It may be quiet on campus, but the $3.25 billion Duke Forward campaign has kept activity humming during the summer.

First, trustee emeritus Morris Williams ’62, M.A.T. ’63 and his wife, Ruth, pledged $5 million to Duke athletics. It’s the fourth commitment of $5 million or more to athletics since last October.


July 25, 2013


Future champs: Ogelsby rallies a passel of All West Lacrosse players. Photo courtesy of Matt Ogelsby.

May 15, 2013

As East Coast-West Coast rivalries go, the quest to produce the nation’s top varsity lacrosse players is decidedly lopsided. Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the country, exploding at every level of play, from youth leagues to competitive high-school teams to clubs. Still, the country’s top athletes and colle- giate programs historically have been rooted along the Atlantic.

Forever Duke logo

May 15, 2013


Sterly Wilder

Sterly Wilder ’83, associate vice president for alumni affairs, talks with NBA star (and former Duke basketball standout) Grant Hill ’94, who now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers.

SW: I was your pre-major adviser, and we met the first day you were on campus. Do you remember whether I gave you a hard time?

(Credit: Jon Gardiner)

February 13, 2013

Here’s to you, Mrs. Merritt, onetime lunch lady at Banks High School, Birmingham, Alabama. It is the day before the 2012 Belk Bowl at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, and coach David Cutcliffe is discussing what he looks for in a potential recruit to his Duke University football program.

February 13, 2013

LACROSSE: Lacrosse players Casey Carroll ’07, Jake Tripucka ’13, and David Lawson ’13 were selected in the 2013 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. The 18th overall pick, Carroll is pursuing a master’s degree at the Fuqua Business School after serving multiple tours of duty as an Army ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A 1938 physical-education course required for graduation. Courtesy Duke University Archives

November 12, 2012

Title IX, the landmark federal legislation that celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year, marked a breakthrough for female athletes at Duke, opening the door to full participation in varsity athletics on a national stage. But the desire of women to compete on a level playing field with men can be seen much earlier in campus history. Those aspirations— and the resistance to them—were evident during a curious event in 1934 called “Play Day.”

No I in tee: Tabria Williford and Maddy Haller in the team's “Compete” shirts [Photos: Jon Gardiner]

November 1, 2012

In spring 2010, the rising seniors of the Duke women’s soccer team were not pleased. The fall season had ended abruptly with back-to-back losses in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament and the first round of the NCAA championships. That might have been considered a decent season, but the team’s leaders, who had advanced to the Elite Eight the two previous years, expected more. During the team’s spring training, they gathered the team for a mental and emotional overhaul.

October 2, 2012

OLYMPICS: Nick McCrory and Abby Johnston weren’t the only Duke athletes at the Olympics. Here’s a rundown of Duke’s ties to the games:

June 3, 2012

Deep in the digital detritus of Becca Ward’s computer are some peculiar mementos of her days as a teenage fencing phenom. Sometime around age thirteen, when she began traveling the globe to compete in international matches, she started taking pictures of pigeons. It began as a joke—because how is a pigeon in Poland any different from one in Portland, really?—but the birds soon became a metaphor for her itinerant life. 

January 31, 2012


Taylor Sisk

Three Amigos
by Taylor Sisk
The Plumlee brothers revel in college life—and each other's company.

January 1, 2012


Bridget Booher

Something was missing in Mike Krzyzewski’s yard. A gap between the William Penn barberry and an English holly created a discordant note in the otherwise harmonious landscape he’d composed. So on a Wednesday morning in mid-December, while members of his Blue Devil basketball team were busy with final exams, Krzyzewski drove to a Durham gardening store in pursuit of a burgundy-colored, deer-resistant Pieris japonica to fill the void and complement the color palette he’d orchestrated.