No dance, but always Guess. 45-year-old Durham firm talks Duke Blue Devil fandom during March Madness

No dance, but always Guess. A 45-year-old firm from Durham talks about the Duke Blue Devil fandom during March Madness (Mariah Ellis/CBS 17).

DURHAM, NC (WNCN) — Some say you won’t find a bigger group of die-hard Duke Blue Devil fans than at Devine.

The Main Street restaurant and sports bar has been welcoming fans to cheer on the Blue Devils since it opened 45 years ago.

Gene Devine, the business owner, said: “In 1978 when I opened that’s what I was trying to do was keep people in Durham and not go to Chapel Hill,” Devine laughed and added, “We know who’s in Chapel Hill!

Devine, a former Duke football player and graduate, said Duke games and fans are the driving force behind it all. He said you rarely see a game day where the company isn’t loud and crowded.

“We turned on all the TVs and showed 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 bounced back in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament, 65-52, by No. 4 Tennessee

Daniel Pond, from Durham, said he had been going to the sports bar to cheer on the Blue Devils for years.

“I’ve been coming here since I was younger and watched the 2015 championships here,” he said. “It was one of the best nights of my life.”

Duke fans take Guess on Saturday for March Madness (Mariah Ellis/CBS 17).

Thomas Johnson, a graduate of the Duke Class of 1987, said he came to watch the game knowing the business would be open in the early afternoon.

He joined others to watch the Duke Blue Devils play against the Tennessee Volunteers in the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s always a rush to be around ‘Dukies’ and cheering on Duke…it’s like a tradition,” Johnson said, describing what happens when March Madness happens.

It’s this excitement and tradition of gathering fans that the owner says has even brought a few familiar faces to the restaurant over the years.

“Coach K[rzyzewski] started in 1980… I saw him and I saw all the ball and football players too. We’re right next to East Campus,” Devine said.

But on Saturday, fans couldn’t help but be upset to see the men’s basketball team lose.

“Tennessee is just…it’s just a good, big team,” Pond said.

Despite the loss, Pond said it was exciting to see Duke’s progress knowing the team has a new coach and a young squad.

Win or lose, fans said Devine had a special place.

“It’s a special place, it’s a special city and it’s a special team. This is my home, this is Duke…Duke feels like home,” Pond said.

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