You call him Coach K because you can’t pronounce and spell the last name. No matter how you spell Coach K’s last name, it’s meaning to Duke basketball and college hoops is simply winning.
John Wooden is, in my opinion, the great college hoops, and the great coach ever, period. Now that I’ve made that clear, Coach K has defined winning in the modern era of college sports.
Coach K collect win #903 last night in Madison Square Garden over another one of the programs that has defined the last 2 decades of the sport, Michigan State. Obviously, the winning for Duke and Coach K won’t stop there, but truth is, that is what the man is all about.
Of course it’s more, but in a nutshell, that’s just what Coach K and Duke does. They win. And they win a lot. They win so much that people hate them for all the winning they do. They win with smarter, more talented kids. They don’t always win NCAA Titles, but in the modern era of college hoops, nobody, no program wins all the time.
UCLA dominated in a different era under Wooden. The Wizard of Westwood would won more games if they could have played more games, but the field of competition was different. The times were different. The rules were different.
In today’s game, Coach K does for Duke what any fan could ask for: Win. Win a lot of game, win your conference, and get to the NCAA Tournament and give us a chance to win a title. Duke has had as many disappointments in the NCAA tournament as they’ve had successes, but its the opportunity for success that is a tribute to Coach K’s excellence.
He wins and gets the most out of his team each and every year. Coach K even has a Olympic Gold Medal on his resume, which should have been easy enough to get when you have the most talent, but the USA hadn’t won it for 8 years when he came aboard and pulled together NBA superstars, and meshed those egos, as a college coach, and had their respect, which is no small feat.
Point is, Coach K deal with pressure to win as well as anyone ever. There are always expectations and he still wins. It is difficult to stay anywhere, in any job, let alone a sports coaching job, for too long. Eventually, people are mad that you don’t win enough, or you go without winning a couple of years. For Coach K, that has never been a problem. All he does is win, win, win, no matter what.
So next time someone asks you to spell K-R-Z-Y-Z-E-W-S-K-I. Just say, duh? Winning!
Tuck: Mike Krzyzewski Spelling Winning by Mike Tuck