Not dancing, but still divine. The 45-year-old Durham entrepreneur opens up about the Duke Blue Devil fandom during March Madness
Not dancing, but still divine. The 45-year-old Durham entrepreneur opens up about the Duke Blue Devil fandom during March Madness (Mariah Ellis/CBS 17).
DURHAM, NC (WNCN) — Some say you won’t find a larger group of die-hard Duke Blue Devil fans than at Devine’s.
Since opening 45 years ago, the Main Street restaurant and sports bar has welcomed fans to cheer on the Blue Devils.
Gene Devine, the store’s owner, said, “When I opened in 1978, I was trying to keep people in Durham and not go to Chapel Hill,” laughed Devine, adding, “We know who’s over in Chapel Hill! “
Devine, a former Duke football player and graduate student, said Duke games and fans drive everything. He said you rarely see a match day when business isn’t loud and busy.
“We all turn on the TVs and show the other games across the country…it’s great for all the fans to come out and watch multiple games, but of course you want to see Duke win,” Devine said.
No. 5 Duke rebounded from No. 4 Tennessee in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament, 65-52
Durham’s Daniel Pond said he had been going to the sports bar to cheer for the Blue Devils for years.
“I’ve been coming here since I was younger and watched the 2015 championships here,” he said. “That was one of the best nights of my life.”
Duke fans take Devines to Saturday’s March Madness (Mariah Ellis/CBS 17).
Thomas Johnson, a 1987 Duke class graduate, said he stopped by to watch the game because he knew the shop would be open by early afternoon.
He joined others to watch the Duke Blue Devils play the Tennessee Volunteers in the NCAA tournament.
“It’s always a rush to be surrounded by ‘Dukies’ and cheering for Duke… it’s like a tradition,” Johnson said, describing what happens when March Madness arrives.
It’s this excitement and tradition of bringing fans together that the owner said has even brought a few familiar faces to the restaurant over the years.
“Coach K[rzyzewski] started in 1980… I saw him and also saw all the ball players and football. We’re right on East Campus,” Devine said.
But on Saturday, fans couldn’t help but fret as they watched the men’s basketball team lose.
“Tennessee is just…they’re just a good, big team,” Pond said.
Despite the loss, Pond said it’s exciting to see Duke’s progress knowing the team has a new coach and a young squad.
Win or lose, fans said there’s a special place in Devine’s.
“It’s a special place, a special city and a special team. It’s home, it’s Duke…Duke feels like home,” Pond said.