Mike Krzyzewski is a former college basketball player and is now the head coach at Duke University. He is the best active coach in the game today. Not only does Coach K coach at Duke, but he is also the United States basketball coach for the Olympics. Krzyzewski was born in Chicago, Illinois. His parents were Polish immigrants who emigrated from Poland to the Pittsburgh area. Krzyzewski played his college ball at the United States Military Academy in West Point New York. He played under another very good coach while at West Point. That coach is Bob Knight. Many people know Bob Knight as a hot-headed coach who likes to scream and yell at the referees but he is arguably one of the greatest coaches ever in the NCAA. It is not surprising the Coach K is such a good coach considering he played under Coach Knight in college. In 2005, Krzyzewski was awarded with West Point’s Distinguished Graduate Award for his great success as a coach and as a great human being in general.
Coach K started his coaching career at Army and was there for only five years. After five years at Army, he took over as Duke’s head coach. He took this job in 1980 and is still coaching there today in 2010. The first few seasons at Duke were not very good for Coach K. Duke finished under.500 in two of his first three seasons as head coach. It’s hard to believe now, but during his third season many fans wanted Krzyzewski to be fired as head coach. I’m sure those fans are biting their tongues now considering he has brought the Blue Devils four national titles and five conference tournament championships. Duke has not had a losing season under Coach Krzyzewski since his third year as head coach. That is a staggering number because this year was his 30th year as head coach there. That comes out to be 28 seasons with a winning record and 27 of them coming consecutively. He has taken the Blue Devils to the NCAA Tournament in 26 of the past 27 years and 15 consecutive years from 1996 to 2010. The latter streak is still alive today and will most likely keep going.
Krzyzewski has won many awards and has been recognized for many great things throughout his career. I have already mentioned that he was presented with West Point’s Distinguished Graduate Award in 2005. This is not the only great accomplishment that he has under his belt. In 1986 he was named Basketball Times, CBS/Chevrolet, UPI National Coach of the Year. This was a very good year for him since he earned three different awards for the Coach of the Year. He won the Naismith National Coach of the Year award in 1989 and the Victor Awards in 2001. Coach K was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year three times: 1984, 1999, and 2000. Along with the Victor Awards in 200, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame and Time Magazine and CNN named him as “America’s Best Coach.” This award was very special since it was not limited to any particular sport, so they said he was the best coach of any kind in the United States of America. With his 868 career wins, Krzyzewski is the winningest active coach today and the fourth winningest of all time in the NCAA. The 800 win club is a very prestigious club, which includes Bob Knight, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Jim Boeheim, Eddie Sutton, and Jim Calhoun. Just being mentioned in the same sentence as these six other guys would be amazing, but to be considered as just as good, and if not better, at coaching than them is an absolutely a great feat.
Coach Krzyzewski has also been the head coach of many United States men’s national teams. Just to be asked to coach the national team would be an honor in itself. He won the silver medal at the 1987 World University Games. He was still a young coach at this point in time so that was pretty amazing. He won a bronze medal at the FIBA World Championship, a silver medal at the 1990 Goodwill Games, a bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and two gold medals. The two gold medals were won at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and the 2008 Summer Olympics. This says what a good coach he is because he has to change his style of coaching when going from college basketball to coaching professionals in these world championship games. Professional are a lot better athletes and it takes a totally different style of coaching to coach them. Many people didn’t think it was a good idea for him to coach in these games because it might make him change as a coach completely. He has learned to jive the two styles into one and make everyone he coaches a better person and player. Many players on his past teams have said that his new style of coaching has made the game more fun and made them better people and players.
Coach Krzyzewski has coached many great players that have gone on to have great professional careers. Some of these players are: Shane Battier, Carlos Boozer, Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, and Jay Bilas. These players all had great careers at Duke and in the NBA. Christian Laettner is still known as the player that hit the game winning shot that is still talked about today. Jay Bilas is an analyst for ESPN and is on College Game Day. He hosts College Game Day on ESPN which is a show where they go to colleges and talk about the game on the court before the game starts. It is a very interesting show for college basketball fans. He most likely wouldn’t have the opportunity to do this if he never played under Coach K.