COACH K (Mike Krzyzewski)
Winning seasons, superb graduation rates for his players and a basketball team that is as close as family are all attributes that reflect on the man who is in his 28th year as the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils, Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski.
Continuing to build on his well-earned reputation as one of the top college basketball coaches of all-time. Coach K led Duke to a 22-11 record, its 12th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2006-2007. This record accomplished with the school’s youngest team in 60 years. He also became the second fastest coach to reach 700 wins in NCAA history.
From 1999-2002, Duke finished number one in the nation in the final Associated Press poll for a record four consecutive seasons. In 2003-04, the Blue Devils reached the nation’s top spot in the AP poll, marking the seventh straight year they had been number one (only UCLA’s string on 12 consecutive years reaching No. 1 from 1964-75 was longer). The 2004-05 season completed a nine-year run in which Duke compiled an incredible 199-25 ACC regular season record. Duke has won seven of the past 10 ACC regular season crowns and has won at least 11 ACC regular season contests in 10 of the past 11 years. In the past seven years, four different Blue Devils- Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Jason Williams (twice) and J.J. Redick (twice) – have earned National Player of the Year honors. Also,, Duke’s 133 victories over a four-year period from 1998-2001 established an NCAA record.
Krzyzewski’s record as Duke’s all time winning coach offers evidence of his success: 702 total wins; 390 weeks ranked in the top 25; 331 weeks ranked in the top 10; 92 weeks ranked No. 1; 10 Final Four berths in the last 20 years, including five straight appearances from 1988- 92; 22 seasons with at least 20 wins in the past 24 years; 21 upper-division finishes in the ACC in the past 22 years; nine 30-win seasons (most by any coach of all-time); 11 regular season ACC crowns and 10 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament titles, including seven of the last eight years (a record five in succession from 1999-2003).
Most impressive are the three national championships (1991, 1992 and 2001) that make Coach K one of only four coaches in NCAA history to earn three or more NCAA titles. In addition to Krzyzewski, only John Wooden (10), Adolph Rupp (4), and Bob Knight (3) have accomplished that feat. With back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992, Coach K became the first coach since Wooden in 1972-1973 to earn consecutive NCAA crowns.
He and the Blue Devils have been a fixture on the national basketball scene with 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths from 1984-94 and 23 in the last 24 years. Overall, he has taken his program to postseason play in 24 of his 27 years in Durham and is the winningest active coach in NCAA Tournament play with a stunning 68-19 record for a 78.2 winning percentage. His 68 tournament wins rank first in NCAA history.
Coach K owns a 775-261-career record while attaining a 702-202 mark at Duke. On Nov. 17, 2000, Krzyzewski earned his 500th win at Duke with a triumph over Villanova. That night, the fabled floor of Cameron Indoor Stadium was dedicated as Coach K Court.
Such accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In all, Coach K has been named the National Coach of the Year 12 times in eight different seasons. He was named Coach of the Decade for the 1990’s by the NABC and was the second recipient of the John R. Wooded Legends of Coaching Award. On October 5, 2001, Coach K was presented by his college coach Bob Knight as one of three members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2001.
In 1992, The Sporting News named him Sportsman of the Year, becoming the first college coach to earn that honor. The magazine said, “On the court and off, Krzyzewski is a family man first, a teacher second, a basketball coach third, and a winner at all three. He is what’s right about sports.”
Krzyzewski received another prestigious honor in 2001 as he was named “America’s Best Coach” – all coaches, any sport, any level of play – by Time Magazine and CNN. “No college hoops coach has won more in the past two decades,” wrote Josh Tyrangiel of Time, “and Krzyzewski has accomplished all this with a program that turns out real-deal scholar athletes – kids who go to class, graduate and don’t mind telling everyone about it.”
On the court, Coach K has averaged more than 25 wins a season during his career at Duke and more than 31 wins per year over the last six seasons. Duke has won at least 30 games in seven of the past 13 seasons. He directed his teams to nine straight trips to the round of 16 from 1998-2006, as well as joining Wooden as the only coach to guide a team to the Final Four five consecutive years.
On September 26, 2005, Coach K was named head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team. In the summer of 2008, Coach K added to his already impressive list of accomplishments when he lead the US Men’s Olympic Basketball Team to a gold-medal finish in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
Krzyzewski’s book, Beyond Basketball: Coach K’s Keywords for Success, was published in 2006.