Men's Basketball Coaching Staff
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 now in his 36th season as the head coach of the Blue Devils, Mike Krzyzewski.
Although some still stumble with pronouncing and spelling his name, when people speak of the highest level of success in the college basketball world, the name Krzyzewski (Sha-shef-skee) immediately comes to mind. Coach K further solidified his status in the upper echelon of coaching on Nov. 15, 2011, when he became the winningest coach in college basketball history with a 74-69 Duke win over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden. Krzyzewski returned to MSG Jan. 25, 2015, to achieve another historic milestone when he became the first NCAA Division I men’s basketball coach to reach 1,000 career wins with a 77-68 victory over St. John’s.
"There will be others that win more, but it is kind of neat to be the first one to 1,000," Krzyzewski said of the accomplishment. "I am proud of that, too: It's not just the number of wins, but the quality of opponents we've had. To win the 1,000th here, you need to be a lucky guy. I love my place, Cameron, but this is a magical place, as well."
In 35 seasons at Duke, Krzyzewski, a Hall of Fame coach and 12-time National Coach of the Year, has built a dynasty that few programs in the history of the game can match.
The numbers under Coach K are staggering:
• Five National Championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015)
• Five gold medals as head coach of USA Men’s National Team (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014)
• 1,018 career wins (most in NCAA history)
• 945 victories at Duke
• 433 ACC wins (most in ACC history)
• 88 NCAA Tournament victories (most in NCAA history)
• 12 National Coach of the Year honors (eight seasons)
• Seven National Players of the Year (nine honors)
• Six National Defensive Players of the Year (nine honors)
• 31 NCAA Tournament bids
• 30 All-America selections (44 honors)
• 12 Final Four appearances (tied for most in NCAA history)
• 12 ACC regular season championships
• 13 ACC Tournament championships
• 545 weeks ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams
• 479 weeks ranked among the nation’s top 10 teams
• 109 weeks ranked No. 1 in the country
• 52 NBA Draft selections, including 31 in the first round
• 20 NBA Lottery picks
• 10 Consecutive Top 10 AP Poll finishes (1997-2006)
Entering the 2015-16 season, Coach K owns a 1,018-310 record in 40 years of coaching, including a 945-251 mark in 35 seasons in Durham.
Krzyzewski’s victory total offers evidence of his success, but even more impressive are the five national championships. The fifth title came last season with a 68-63 win over Wisconsin in Indianapolis, marking the third time Duke has captured the crown in the city. In addition to the 2015 run to the title, Krzyzewski led Duke to NCAA championships in 1991, 1992, 2001 and 2010. Only two coaches since John Wooden have led their programs to back-to-back championships (Coach K and Billy Donovan) and Krzyzewski’s five titles are also second only to Wooden (10) in NCAA history.
In 2005-06, Krzyzewski passed Wooden to move into first on the chart of coaches who have led their respective schools to a No. 1 national ranking. Coach K has now led Duke to the top spot in the AP poll in an NCAA-record 16 seasons, including 11 times in the last 18 years. Under Krzyzewski, Duke has played far more games as a No. 1 ranked team (218) than it has as an unranked team (141). He has guided the Blue Devils to a 190-28 mark as the top-ranked team in the AP Poll.
Coach K and the Blue Devils have been a fixture on the national basketball scene with 20 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths from 1996-2015 and 31 in the past 32 years. Overall, he has taken his program to postseason play in 32 of his 35 years at Duke and is the winningest active coach in NCAA Tournament play with a stunning 88-26 record for a .772 winning percentage. On March 20, 2005, Krzyzewski surpassed Dean Smith’s career tournament win total of 65 with a 63-55 triumph over Mississippi State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
To top off an incredible year in 2001, after Duke won its third national championship, Krzyzewski was named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class along with Temple’s John Chaney and former NBA star Moses Malone. The induction ceremony was held in Springfield, Mass., on October 5, 2001. In typical Coach K fashion, he was adamant in sharing the honor with those around him.
“I hope that all of those youngsters who have played for me and the people who have worked with me will share in this honor,” he said. “My mom always told me to associate myself with great people and great institutions. I’ve tried to do that at the United States Military Academy and at Duke University, two of the great institutions in the world. As a result, I’ve been around some amazing people.
“I never thought I’d be worthy enough to be in the Basketball Hall of Fame. It’s not anything you set out trying to achieve. Basically, you go about your business and try to be as good as you can be all the time. Again, I get back to coaching great players and being with great assistants. They bring out the best in you.”
Success stories do not just happen overnight. They take time, and the latest chapter in Duke Basketball is no exception. Krzyzewski inherited a Duke squad in 1980-81 with a thin talent base outside of All-America Gene Banks, Kenny Dennard and Vince Taylor. The squad hustled its way to a bid in the NIT, but it was obvious that the recruiting trail was Krzyzewski’s only answer if the team was to succeed in the long run.
He landed a recruiting class in 1982 made up of Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, David Henderson, Jay Bilas, Bill Jackman and Weldon Williams. It was rated one of the nation’s best and put Duke on the map to stay. Joining that powerful group was guard Tommy Amaker in 1983. Duke won 24 games with the nucleus of Dawkins, Alarie, Amaker, Bilas and Henderson in 1984 and earned the first NCAA bid under Coach K.
With the class of Dawkins, Alarie and company now seniors, the 1986 Duke Blue Devils won a then NCAA-record 37 games while claiming Big Apple NIT, ACC regular season, ACC Tournament and NCAA East Regional titles. They established a school record with a 21-game winning streak during the year (that has since been broken), went undefeated at home, advanced to the NCAA Championship game in Dallas and played more games (40) than any other team in college basketball history.
With the loss of the five seniors, many expected Duke to drop considerably in 1987, but not Krzyzewski. The team won 24 games and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual national champion Indiana. Amaker ended his career as the National Defensive Player of the Year, closing out a season that Coach K looks back on as the one that demonstrated the winning consistency of the program.
The 1987-88 campaign began Duke’s amazing streak of five straight NCAA Final Four appearances as the Blue Devils won 28 games, claimed the ACC title, won another East Regional championship and found themselves in Kansas City. Senior Billy King followed Amaker by winning the second straight National Defensive Player of the Year award by a Blue Devil.
The role of leadership again fell to the senior class in 1988-89. This time, it was the National Player of the Year Danny Ferry, Quin Snyder and John Smith taking the reins. They guided the team to another trip to the NCAA Final Four with a win over heavily favored Georgetown in the East Regional final.
In 1989-90, seniors Alaa Abdelnaby, Robert Brickey and Phil Henderson led the way to the Final Four with a 29-9 record, landing just one game shy of the title in Denver. The group won its third consecutive East Regional championship with an overtime triumph over top-seeded Connecticut.
Then came the 1990-91 season that forever changed the face of basketball at Duke. After the 30-point loss to UNLV in the 1990 championship game, Krzyzewski’s team was determined to avenge the defeat. The Blue Devils won the regular season ACC title and posted four consecutive lopsided victories in the Midwest Region for yet another trip to the Final Four.
In the semifinals, Duke got another shot at the Runnin’ Rebels, who were undefeated, and this time Coach K masterfully led the Blue Devils to a 79-77 victory to earn a matchup with Kansas for the title. Duke’s crowning glory came on April 1, 1991, with a 72-65 victory over the Jayhawks as Christian Laettner earned MVP honors in Duke’s first national basketball championship.
In 1992, the stage was set for an unprecedented chapter in college basketball history, and Coach K and his squad were up to the task. Behind the National Player of the Year Laettner and fellow All-Americans Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill, the Blue Devils rolled to a 34-2 record and held the No. 1 ranking from start to finish (18 polls). Duke won its second consecutive NCAA crown with a convincing 71-51 victory over Michigan. Along the way, the Blue Devils captured their fifth consecutive regional championship, won the ACC regular season and tournament titles and equaled the school record to that point for ACC victories with 14.
“I loved my 1991 team, but this team was a great team,” said Krzyzewski following the 1992 championship. “It met every challenge and at the Final Four it showed its true personality by winning both games in the second half with what I like best, defense.”
In 1993-94, the Blue Devils and Coach K were back knocking at the door of another national championship. Duke piled up a 28-6 overall record, won the ACC regular season championship, was ranked from start to finish in the nation’s top 10, captured the Southeast Regional title with an upset win over top-seeded Purdue and advanced to the national championship game before bowing to Arkansas, 76-72, in Charlotte.
The Blue Devils finished the 1998-99 campaign equaling the Duke record for most wins with 37, winning the NCAA East Regional title, capturing the ACC Tournament crown for the first time since 1992, recording the first 16-0 record in the ACC regular season, securing a school-record 32-game winning streak during the year and wrapping it all up as the NCAA runner-ups. Elton Brand was the consensus National Player of the Year, Shane Battier was the NABC National Defensive Player of the Year and Trajan Langdon was a first team All-America for Duke.
In 1999-2000, Duke finished with a 29-5 record, its fourth consecutive outright ACC regular season championship with a 15-1 record, its second consecutive ACC Tournament title and the final regular season No. 1 ranking in both major polls. Senior Chris Carrawell and Battier, then a junior, were named consensus All-Americans, and Battier earned his second consecutive National Defensive Player of the Year award. The Blue Devils accomplished this despite losing four starters from their 37-2 squad that advanced to the national championship game in 1999. Duke also had seven freshmen, the most on a Blue Devil team in school history, on its roster.
On November 17, 2000, Krzyzewski’s numerous accomplishments at Duke were recognized as the fabled Cameron Indoor Stadium court was named Coach K Court in his honor in a postgame ceremony.
Continuing to build on his well-earned reputation as one of the top college basketball coaches of all time, Coach K led Duke to its third national championship in 2001, joining just three other coaches - Wooden (10), Adolph Rupp (4) and Bob Knight (3) - who won three or more NCAA titles. The Blue Devils finished the season with a 35-4 record, including 10 consecutive victories to end the year, their third consecutive ACC Tournament championship, fifth straight ACC regular season championship and the TiVo Preseason NIT title. Duke also was ranked at the top of the final Associated Press poll for the third consecutive season, marking just the second time in NCAA history a program had accomplished that feat (Wooden’s UCLA squads did it from 1971-73).
With its 82-72 victory over Arizona in the 2001 national championship game, Duke ended a four-year run with 133 victories. The Blue Devils lost just 15 games during that four-year span. The 133 wins broke the previous NCAA standard of 132 set twice by Kentucky from 1995-98 and 1996-99.
Individually, Coach K passed two major milestones in 2000-01: his 500th victory at Duke (98-85 over Villanova) and his 600th win overall (79-53 over sixth-ranked North Carolina in the ACC Tournament final). He reached 600 career wins faster than all but 10 coaches in college basketball history.
Under Krzyzewski’s guidance, not one, but two of his student-athletes earned National Player of the Year awards in 2001 (Battier was the consensus selection, while Jason Williams earned the NABC award). It was the first time in college basketball history that two players from the same team received National Player of the Year recognition by the major outlets. Battier and Williams were both unanimous first team All-Americans, and Battier, the sixth overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, earned his third consecutive National Defensive Player of the Year award.
“I thoroughly loved coaching these kids,” said Krzyzewski following the 2001 national title. “They’ve been so good. They’ve given me their hearts, their minds, and not only that, they’ve given it to each other ... I get real close to the guys on my team. That’s the most rewarding thing about what I do.”
Krzyzewski led Duke to another outstanding season in 2001-02. The Blue Devils finished 31-4 overall, won the ACC Tournament title for a record fourth consecutive year, were a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for a record fifth straight season and finished No. 1 in the final AP poll for the fourth consecutive season, another NCAA first. Three Duke players – Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer – earned All-America honors and Williams became just the seventh repeat winner of National Player of the Year honors in college basketball history. That Duke threesome also departed for the NBA, where all three were drafted. Williams and Dunleavy were selected second and third, respectively, making them just the second set of teammates to be taken among the top three picks of the NBA Draft (UCLA’s Lew Alcindor and Lucious Allen went one and three in 1969).
In perhaps one of his finest coaching jobs, Krzyzewski led a 2002-03 team featuring six freshmen to a 26-7 record, its record fifth consecutive ACC Tournament championship and the school’s sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16. Senior Dahntay Jones, the squad’s leading scorer, was Duke’s lone All-ACC representative and an honorable mention All-America selection. Jones became Coach K’s 17th first round pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.
Guided by the leadership of senior point guard Chris Duhon, Duke returned to the Final Four for the 10th time in a 19-year period in 2003-04. Duke finished the season 31-6 and won its sixth ACC regular season crown in eight seasons with a 13-3 league mark. Duke reached the No. 1 national ranking for four weeks during the season, marking the seventh consecutive year that it had reached that height (only UCLA’s streak of 12 straight years of achieving the No. 1 ranking from 1964-75 is longer). The Blue Devils ended the year by dropping a one-point decision to eventual national champion Connecticut in the Final Four in San Antonio. Duhon, J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams each earned All-America honors, bringing Coach K’s total selections to 19 in 24 seasons at that point. In the 2004 NBA Draft, Luol Deng, after playing just one season at Duke, was selected seventh overall and Duhon was taken in the second round.
The 2004-05 squad featured Daniel Ewing, who would become the 36th NBA Draft pick under Krzyzewski, Redick, a National Player of the Year choice, and Williams, the National Defensive Player of the Year honoree. The Blue Devils went 27-6 and captured the ACC Tournament championship.
In 2005-06, the Blue Devils posted a 32-4 record, including a 14-2 mark in regular season league play. Duke captured the NIT Season Tip-Off crown and went on to win both the ACC regular season and tournament titles. Krzyzewski’s 10th ACC Tournament championship came in the 1,000th game of his coaching career, a 78-76 win over Boston College at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 12. Redick, a consensus National Player of the Year honoree, set the ACC career scoring and the NCAA three-point field goal records and Williams grabbed National Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second year in a row. Redick and Williams also became the ninth set of teammates selected as AP first team All-Americans and the first since Jason Williams and Shane Battier accomplished the feat in 2001.
Duke featured the school’s youngest team in more than 60 years in the 2006-07 season with 10 of the 12 players on the roster being either freshmen or sophomores. Despite the youth, the squad recorded a 22-11 record and reached the NCAA Tournament. Coach K recorded his 700th career victory at Duke against Georgia Tech, making him the second-fastest coach in NCAA history to record 700 wins at one school.
Coach K had the Blue Devils among the top teams in the nation during the 2007-08 campaign as the team won 22 of its first 23 games. Krzyzewski became only the sixth head coach to reach 800 career wins with a victory at N.C. State. Duke would go on to finish the year 28-6, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the 13th consecutive season. DeMarcus Nelson was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a third team All-American, while Kyle Singler was the ACC Rookie of the Year and a Freshman All-American.
In 2008-09, Coach K led Duke to a 30-7 record, the school’s 10th 30-win season, and to the ACC Tournament championship. The Blue Devils advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and reached a No. 1 ranking in the middle of the season. Gerald Henderson was a first team All-ACC performer while the team featured four players with over 1,000 career points in Henderson, Greg Paulus, Jon Scheyer and Singler.
The 2010 National Championship team used a stingy defense, hard-nosed rebounding and a potent three-man scoring attack to finish the year 35-5 overall. The Blue Devils held opponents to 61.0 points per game, the second-lowest in school history, and averaged 39.0 rebounds per contest for the second-most during Krzyzewski’s tenure at Duke. The Blue Devils also featured the nation’s top scoring trio as Scheyer, Singler and Nolan Smith combined to average 53.3 points per game. Duke won every possible championship they competed for in 2009-10, winning the NIT Season Tip-Off, ACC regular season and ACC Tournament on the way to reaching the NCAA Final Four for the 11th time under Krzyzewski.
In 2010-11, Krzyzewski led the Blue Devils to a 32-5 record, the ACC Tournament championship and the CBE Classic title. The Blue Devils spent 11 weeks atop the AP Poll and were ranked in the top 5 of the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls for the entire season. Smith became the seventh player under Coach K to average over 20.0 points per game and was a unanimous first team All-America selection and the ACC Player of the Year. Singler also capped off his record setting career with All-ACC and All-America accolades in 2011. Krzyzewski, the 2011 NABC District II Coach of the Year, became the second coach in NCAA history to post 900 career wins with a 73-71 victory over Michigan on March 20 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Krzyzewski guided a young 2011-12 team to a 27-7 record, including a 13-3 ledger in league play. Duke spent the entire season ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll and collected 10 wins over NCAA Tournament teams. The Blue Devils posted a 74-69 win over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15 to give Coach K his NCAA-best 903rd career coaching victory. Duke also ran the table at the Maui Invitational, including a championship game win over 2012 NCAA Tournament runner-up Kansas, to improve to 16-0 all-time in the event. The Blue Devils registered a buzzer-beating win at North Carolina and erased a 20-point deficit with 11 minutes to play in a dramatic come-from-behind win over N.C. State in 2012. Rivers garnered third team NABC All-America and ACC Rookie of the Year honors, while averaging a team-high 15.5 points per game. He also became just the seventh freshman in league history to earn first team All-ACC honors. Juniors Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry were third team all-conference picks, while Plumlee also earned CoSIDA first team Academic All-America accolades.
With a talented senior trio of Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee, Krzyzewski led the Blue Devils to a 30-6 record and an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2012-13. Duke spent the entire season ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll, including five weeks ranked No. 1 overall. Krzyzewski’s squad registered wins over No. 2 Louisville, No. 3 Kentucky, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Miami, marking the third time in school history the Blue Devils have posted at least four or more wins over top-5 teams. Duke also recorded its 17th undefeated season at Cameron Indoor Stadium with a 16-0 mark at its home venue. The Blue Devils won the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis, capping off the tournament with an impressive win over eventual national champion Louisville. Duke also became the fourth program in NCAA history to reach the 2,000-win plateau with a 66-50 victory over Creighton in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Plumlee, a first team Academic All-America as well as consensus second team All-American, became the second player under Coach K to average a double-double, while also topping the 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound marks for his career. Curry, who battled through a season-long lower leg injury, went on to grab Sporting News All-America honors after averaging 17.5 points per game with 95 three-point field goals.
In 2013-14, Krzyzewski guided a young and talented group led by sophomore Rodney Hood and freshman Jabari Parker to a 26-9 record and a trip to the ACC title game. The Blue Devils posted a 17-0 mark at home to run their Cameron Indoor Stadium win streak to 33 games. Parker averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game en route to earning National Freshman of the Year accolades as well as consensus first team All-America honors. He set or tied nine Duke freshman records and was named ACC Rookie of the Week a league-record 10 times. Hood, a transfer from Mississippi State, was tabbed as a second team All-ACC selection after averaging 16.1 points per game and shooting a conference-best 42.0 percent from three-point range. Both players entered the NBA Draft following the season with Parker being selected No. 2 overall by the Milwaukee Bucks and Hood going to the Utah Jazz with the 23rd pick. Krzyzewski became the second Division I men’s coach in NCAA history to record 900 wins at a school when he reached the milestone in a Jan. 25 win over Florida State.
Duke’s 2015 National Championship run was fueled by the evolution of senior leader Quinn Cook and the talented freshmen trio of Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow. While that group garnered a majority of the notoriety throughout the season, it was the steady contributions of the rest of the roster (Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones and Marshall Plumlee) that helped make the season so special. With a roster of eight recruited scholarship players by January, Duke won 18 of its final 19 games to close the year with a 35-4 record, including 11 wins over nationally ranked opponents. The Blue Devils also posted three road wins over top-10 teams for the first time in program history going into hostile environments and defeating No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 6 Louisville and No. 2 and then-undefeated Virginia. Okafor averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 66.4 percent from the field en route to earning consensus first team All-America and National Freshman of the Year honors. He set or tied 10 Duke freshman records and became the first freshman in ACC history to earn conference player of the year accolades. Cook garnered second team Sporting News All-America and second team All-ACC honors, while establishing career-highs in scoring (15.3), field goal percentage (.453), free throw percentage (.891), three-point percentage (.395) and three-point field goals (102). Tyus Jones, a third team All-ACC pick, enjoyed a remarkable season filled with clutch performances on the biggest stages. He averaged 11.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, while setting Duke freshman records for games started (39), minutes played (1,322) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.86:1). Jones was at his best in NCAA Tournament play earning Final Four and South Regional Most Outstanding Player honors. He became just the fourth freshman to earn Final Four MOP accolades and is the first Blue Devil to capture regional and Final Four MOP recognition in the same year. Winslow averaged 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game to earn honorable mention All-ACC honors. He was also outstanding in the NCAA Tournament and was named to the NCAA South Regional All-Tournament and NCAA Final Four All-Tournament teams. In addition to its success on the court, Duke excelled in the classroom by placing five members on the ACC All-Academic team for the first time in program history. Okafor (No. 3 - Philadelphia 76ers), Winslow (No. 10 - Miami Heat) and Tyus Jones (No. 24 - Cleveland Cavaliers [traded to Minnesota]) were each selected in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft, marking just the fourth time three or more freshmen from the same college team accomplished that feat.
"This has been my best group, as far as being together, that I've coached in 40 years," said Krzyzewski of the 2014-15 team. “For them to be so close and respond in such a magnificent way to what most people would call pressure situations is uncommon. Winning a National Championship is uncommon, but if you have an uncommon group, you have a better chance to do it.”
On the court, Coach K has averaged more than 25 wins a season during his career at Duke and posted 14 30-win seasons, including 30 or more victories in 11 of the last 18 years. Krzyzewski’s 14 30-win seasons are the most by any coach in college basketball history.
He has directed his teams to 12 Final Fours, tied for the most by a coach in NCAA history. Since 1985, Krzyzewski has an NCAA-record 88 NCAA Tournament victories, 23 more than the next-closest active coach (North Carolina’s Roy Williams has 65 NCAA wins during this period). From 1986 to 2015, every Duke class except four (1998, 2008, 2009 and 2011) has played in at least one Final Four. Incredibly, 70 of 80 players who have completed four years of eligibility at Duke since 1986 have played in the Final Four, with 65 having played in at least one NCAA Championship game.
Obviously, Coach K has put a recruiting plan in motion that attracts the nation’s best players each year. Seven members of this year’s Duke team earned McDonald’s All-America accolades as prep stars, including freshmen Brandon Ingram, Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard. Joining the rookies are Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones and Marshall Plumlee.
“There was no magic wand,” said Krzyzewski. “It was a matter of hard work and organization and a little bit of luck. We had a plan and we stuck to it. In many ways it may have been better that there wasn’t an abundance of talent when we arrived. If that had been the case, we may have taken certain things for granted instead of building a solid foundation.
“When things got tough, I always remembered something Vic Bubas told me just after I had come to Duke,” recalled Krzyzewski. “He said, ‘When you are building something that is going to be really strong, it takes time.’ That gave me encouragement.”
Although he has earned nearly every award imaginable, Krzyzewski was rewarded with the ultimate honor in basketball in 2001 when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He entered the Hall of Fame with Temple coach John Chaney and former NBA star Moses Malone. Since that induction, Krzyzewski has also been inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame (Sept. 11, 2009), Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame (2010) and Duke Athletics Hall of Fame (2011).
Krzyzewski was honored in December of 2011 as Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. He shared the SI cover with Tennessee coaching legend Pat Summitt.
TIME magazine and CNN named Krzyzewski “America’s Best Coach” in 2001 as part of a joint venture between the two media outlets. The criteria for the selection were not limited to any sport or any level of play.
“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.”
In all, Coach K has been named the National Coach of the Year 12 times in eight different seasons by major organizations, including UPI and Chevrolet (1986), Naismith (1989), the NABC (1991), The Sporting News and Naismith (1992), Basketball Times (1997), the NABC and Naismith (1999), Chevrolet (2000) and the Victor Awards (2001). In 2004, he was named the Claire Bee Coach of the Year that honors the active Division I men’s basketball coach who has made the most significant positive contribution to his sport during the preceding year.
In 1992, The Sporting News named him the Sportsman of the Year, becoming the first college coach to win the 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...”
Coach K has been voted the ACC Coach of the Year five times, most recently in 2000. His five ACC Coach of the Year awards are second all-time among the coaching giants of the league.
His players know how special their coach, mentor and friend is.
“I played for the greatest college coach of all-time,” said Shane Battier, one of the most decorated players in the history of the game. “It was an amazing journey.”
Two-time National Player of the Year Jason Williams echoed Battier’s sentiments: “It’s a dream to play for a guy like that – a guy who’s just a rock, who believes in you every second you’re on the court. I love Coach K. I’d run through a brick wall for him.”
Quinn Cook mirrored some of those same sentiments from Williams and Battier following Duke’s championship run in 2015. "Coach K is the greatest. He wasn't focused on getting his fifth championship. He was focused on getting our first together. We're all just blessed to be a part of this Duke program. To be next to Coach, he's been like a father to me and to have him next to me and having his arm around me as we watched 'One Shining Moment' was probably the best moment of my life."
In 2005, Krzyzewski became the youngest recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Award at the United States Military Academy. He garnered another prestigious military honor in 2014 when he was awarded the George Catlett Marshall Medal, the highest award presented by the Association of the United States Army. The Marshall Medal is awarded annually to an individual, who has exhibited selfless service to the United States of America.
"As an exceptional patriot, Mike Krzyzewski is not only an American icon familiar to the nation while pacing on the sidelines during a Blue Devils basketball game, but he is also an extraordinary mentor to our nation’s youth – both military and civilian,” said AUSA president Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret. “He is acclaimed for successfully molding character, mentoring our young men and women, and developing leadership through his example and athletic programs.”
Krzyzewski has been named the USA Basketball Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012. He was named recipient of the United States Sports Academy’s 2012 Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award after guiding Team USA to the gold medal in the London Olympics. Krzyzewski also received the Stagg Coaching Award in 1992 and 2009.
Coach K and USA Basketball
Krzyzewski has been a prominent figure on the USA Basketball scene throughout his career. On Oct. 26, 2005, his role on the international basketball world was thrust into the limelight when he was named head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team.
During his tenure at the helm of Team USA, the Men’s Senior National Team has amassed an extraordinary 75-1 record and has secured gold medals at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2012 London Olympics and 2014 FIBA World Cup as well as a bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Coach K helped USA Basketball regain its position in international basketball during his first stint as the national team coach (2005-08) by instilling the same team-first principles he utilizes as the foundation for success at Duke.
In his first competition as head coach of the program, Krzyzewski led a team that included former Duke standouts Elton Brand and Shane Battier to an 8-1 record and a bronze medal finish at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
The following summer, Coach K led the USA squad to a gold medal in the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, posting a 10-0 record and winning by an average of 39.5 points per game. They defeated Argentina, 118-81, in the gold medal game to automatically qualify for the 2008 Olympics.
In the summer of 2008, Krzyzewski guided the USA squad to a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Team USA reclaimed Olympic gold with a 118-107 victory over Spain in the championship game, while also further changing a negative perception of basketball in the United States along the way. Team USA averaged 106.0 points per game with an average margin of victory of 27.9 points per game during its gold medal run and also restored a tarnished image by winning over fans and fellow athletes with its presence off the court in Beijing. While earning praise for its unselfish play on the court, members of Team USA were equally admired for their patriotic support of American athletes in their quests for Olympic gold.
“It has been tagged as the most selfish basketball nation on Earth, but the U.S. showed teamwork and intensity normally not seen at any place other than, say, Duke University,” said Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke during Team USA’s gold medal run in 2008.
On July 21, 2009, it was announced that Krzyzewski would return as the head coach of the USA Basketball Senior National Team.
“When you have a good thing going you don’t mess with it. Mike and the staff did an incredible job last quad and he is more than entitled to have another run at it. I’ve said it over and over, he was the right guy at the right time and that is still true,” said Jerry Colangelo, who served as the Managing Director of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team program, at the time of the announcement.
Krzyzewski’s second term as the national team coach began with a gold medal performance at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey. With a group that featured six players under the age of 22, Team USA posted a 9-0 mark to capture the gold medal in the FIBA World Championship for the first time since 1994. The U.S. squad had a +24.9 points per game scoring margin with double-digit wins in eight of nine contests.
Team USA once again claimed Olympic gold in 2012 in London, posting a 107-100 win over Spain. While some experts speculated that outside shooting could be the downfall of the 2012 squad, Coach K and his staff gave the players the confidence to take their open shots against international teams’ zone defenses. The group, led by Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, responded by setting an Olympic record with 129 three-point field goals (16.1 3pg.) and shooting 44.0 percent from three-point range during the tournament. Team USA’s finest shooting performance came in a 156-73 win over Nigeria in pool play. Krzyzewski’s group set Olympic records for three-pointers (29, including 10 from Anthony), three-point percentage (.630) and points scored (156) in the win.
Krzyzewski closed out his second quadrennial in charge of the USA Men’s Senior National Team with a 50-game win streak, while becoming the first U.S. coach of multiple Olympic teams since the legendary Henry Iba, who won gold in 1964 and 1968 and coached the team that lost the controversial 1972 gold-medal game to the Soviet Union.
Following the 2012 London Olympics, Krzyzewski announced that he would not return as head coach of the USA Basketball Senior National Team. Colangelo continued to stay in touch with Coach K throughout the season and stepped up his courtship in May. On May 23, 2013, USA Basketball and Colangelo got their wish when it was announced that Krzyzewski would return as head coach of the USA Basketball Senior National Team from 2013-16.
“About four years ago, I was asked about Coach K’s return, and what I said then is still true now – when you have a good thing going, you don’t mess with it,” said Colangelo. “He was and still is the right man to coach the USA National Team. We’ve seen the value of continuity and Coach K’s return gives our national team program another four years of continuity. Together, we have been able to build on the program’s successes of each year and again establish the United States as the world’s number one basketball country.”
“It is tough to give up something you’ve absolutely loved doing for seven years, the people you’re doing it with, and most importantly, the country you’re doing it for,” said Krzyzewski. “As a result of my ongoing desire to coach, I’ve decided I’d like to continue as head coach of the Men’s National Team especially since USA Basketball wanted me to do so. It just seems like the right thing to do. There is no greater honor than to coach your country’s team and to be afforded the unique opportunity to be the National Team coach three times is incredible.”
Krzyzewski once again took advantage of the opportunity at the 2014 FIBA World Cup leading Team USA to a 9-0 mark and the gold medal despite guiding a squad absent of USA Basketball mainstays LeBron James, Anthony, Durant and Russell Westbrook. With six players averaging double figures, the USA led the 24-team World Cup field in scoring offense (104.6 points a game), scoring margin (+33.0), field goal percentage (.524), rebounding (44.8), rebounding margin (+9.0), defensive rebounds (29.9), assists (20.4), steals (12.1) and turnover margin (+8.3). The USA’s +33.0 points per game differential was the most of a U.S. men’s team in a FIBA World Cup or Olympic Games since the 1994 World Championship (+37.8).
“I said previously, if we were to have won this year with all of the adversity that we went through this would be the sweetest of all of the championships, and I feel that way,” said Colangelo following the 2014 FIBA World Cup. “The amazing thing about all that has happened is that we have used so many different players to win these championships, which is a testament to the game in our country and the depth of talent that we have, and to our staff and the leadership of Coach K and our assistant coaches. I couldn’t be more proud of our team.”
USA Basketball has won each of the past two FIBA World Cup (formerly World Championship) events to join Brazil (1959 and 1963) and Yugoslavia (1998 and 2002) as the only countries to earn back-to-back FIBA world titles since the event was initiated in 1950.
Duke players have also had a prominent impact in the Olympics as eight of Krzyzewski’s former players have competed for five different countries in the Olympics. In 2012, former Blue Devils Luol Deng (Great Britain) and Martynas Pocius (Lithuania) competed in the London Olympics.
Krzyzewski supports his players’ efforts to participate in international basketball with over 100 former Duke players competing in international tournaments, including three current players – Brandon Ingram, Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard – who have competed on USA Basketball teams at various international events.
“Duke players have been pretty well schooled fundamentally,” said Colangelo on the Blue Devils’ success with USA Basketball. “They have been well coached and really understand what it takes to be successful and what it necessitates in the way of work so it is really good bloodlines.”
Five former Blue Devils (Elton Brand, Chris Duhon, Christian Laettner, Jabari Parker and Shelden Williams) have earned USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year honors. Parker claimed the award in 2011 after helping Team USA to a perfect 5-0 record and the gold medal at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Williams, who led the U.S. team to an 8-0 record and a gold medal at the World University Games in Turkey in 2005, was also named the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year, while Duhon earned the same honor in 2001 after leading the World Championship for Young Men Team to the gold medal in Japan. Brand was named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in 1998, while Laettner was the first Blue Devil to claim the award in 1991.
Krzyzewski has always been an active part of USA Basketball in various roles, serving as past chairman of the Player Selection Committee for all of the United States’ teams, including the 1991 Pan Am and 1992 Olympic teams. Coach K was an assistant to Chuck Daly (a former Duke assistant coach) at the Olympics and won the gold medal in Barcelona with the 1992 “Dream Team.” Christian Laettner was a member of that team, while 1994 graduate Grant Hill was a part of “Dream Team II” in Atlanta.
Coach K was the USA head coach in 1990 when he led the Americans to a bronze medal at the World Championships and a silver medal at the Goodwill Games in Seattle. He also paced Team USA to a silver medal at the 1987 World University Games and was a special assistant to Bob Knight at the 1984 Olympics. In addition, he has had previous coaching duties at the National Sports Festival (gold medal in 1983) and Pan Am Games.
The Coaching Tree
Sustained success under Mike Krzyzewski has presented coaching opportunities for several of his former players and assistant coaches from both Army and Duke. In all, over 20 of Coach K’s former players or assistants are coaching in the collegiate or professional ranks, including six collegiate head coaches Tommy Amaker (Harvard), Mike Brey (Notre Dame) Chris Collins (Northwestern), Johnny Dawkins (Stanford), Bobby Hurley (Arizona State) and Steve Wojciechowski (Marquette). In addition, former player Billy King is a general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, while Quin Snyder is the head coach of the Utah Jazz and Grant Hill is a part of the new ownership group of the Atlanta Hawks.
Krzyzewski has had 11 former players spend a portion of their coaching careers as members of the Duke staff, including his entire staff for the 2015-16 season.
Success On and Off the Court
When Coach K came to Duke in the spring of 1980, he found a program that was searching for strong leadership and a rebirth of the success that Blue Devil fans had come to know and love. As he enters his 36th season at the helm, the numbers more than prove the faith that former athletic director Tom Butters put in the young, unproven coach to assemble a basketball program consistently ranking in the upper echelon of the country.
Krzyzewski runs a quality program from top to bottom, from the players he recruits to the performance of his teams on the floor, year in and year out.
“I want Duke basketball to be good on a continuing basis,” said Krzyzewski. “All along it has been my goal to give Duke a program that will last, one that will be nationally ranked and worthy of postseason play every year.”
No words can better describe the basketball program he has established at Duke University. Krzyzewski has led his Blue Devils to overwhelming success while building a program that will continue to flourish in the years to come.
The term “student-athlete” is used over and over in college athletics, but the Duke basketball team truly exemplifies the ideal. During Krzyzewski’s time in Durham, the Blue Devils had 64 All-ACC Academic Team selections, including a program-high five members in 2015.
Krzyzewski has had five different players collect a total of eight CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades, including Mason Plumlee who garnered first team honors in 2012 and 2013. Plumlee, along with Shane Battier, Mike Gminski and Jim Spanarkel, are the only two-time first team Academic All-America selections in Duke basketball history. In June of 2015, Battier became the first player under Krzyzewski and Duke’s second overall to be inducted into the CoSIDA Academic Hall of Fame. Gminski was named to the CoSIDA Academic Hall of Fame in 2006.
Prior to Duke
Krzyzewski’s teams take nothing for granted on the court. The core of their success is pressure man-to-man defense, developed over the years with hard work in practice, commitment to excellence and attention to detail. Coach K’s players believe in their system and know that when they win, it is largely because of excellent team defense.
His disciplined, mentally tough teams could be seen as an outgrowth of Coach K’s own upbringing. He went to West Point to enroll in the U.S. Military Academy and receive a quality education, play basketball and become an officer in the Army.
From 1969-74, Krzyzewski served his country. He directed service teams for three years and then followed that up with two years as head coach of the U.S. Military Academy Prep School in Belvoir, Va.
In 1974, he resigned from the Army having attained the rank of Captain. When Krzyzewski was just 26, Bob Knight, his former coach at Army, called and offered him a graduate assistant slot at Indiana University. That 1975 squad posted an 18-0 Big Ten mark and a 31-1 record.
Prior to joining the Duke program, Krzyzewski spent five years building the program at his alma mater in West Point. He led the Cadets to one NIT berth, one ECAC playoff appearance and a five-year record of 73-59.
Krzyzewski has been heavily involved in community service both locally and on the national stage throughout his coaching career. He is currently an honorary co-chair of C-Change, while also assuming vital roles with the Duke Children’s Hospital, the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research and the NABC Foundation.
On Jan. 18, 2014, the 41st President of the United States and co-founder/chairman of CEO Roundtable on Cancer [C-Change], George H.W. Bush, traveled to Durham to recognize Krzyzewski for his personal commitment and leadership in working toward eliminating cancer as a public health threat.
Krzyzewski is also on the board of the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research and has been active in the foundation since inception in 1993. Most recently, he and his wife, Mickie, hosted the 2013 V Foundation Napa Valley Wine Celebration, an event that raised more than $9 million for cancer research.
Currently an honorary chairman of the Duke Children’s Hospital, Krzyzewski participates annually in the Children’s Hospital Radiothon and was extremely active in past events such as the Duke Children’s Miracle Network Telethon and the Duke Children’s Classic.
Coach K’s charitable activities also include the establishment and funding of the Emily Krzyzewski Center, a community center in Durham named after his mother. The Center’s mission is to inspire economically disadvantaged students to dream big, act with character and purpose, strive for academic excellence, and reach their highest potential as future citizen leaders. In 2002, several of Duke’s former basketball stars, including Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, Shane Battier, Mike Dunleavy and Danny Ferry, returned to campus for the Duke All-Star Charity Hoopla, with the game and surrounding events helping raise significant funds for the Duke/Durham Neighborhood Partnership and the Emily K Center.
Krzyzewski’s emphasis on education and literacy was recognized in 2000 when he was named the first recipient of the GTE Reads with the NABC Literacy Champion Award. In honor of Krzyzewski’s selection, GTE (now Verizon) donated $10,000 to support Duke Athletics’ literacy program, Verizon Read with the Blue Devils.
The USBWA honored Krzyzewski in 2012 with the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award, given annually to an individual involved in college basketball who has made a significantly positive impact on society.
Krzyzewski along with his Duke and USA Basketball teams have also been active in the military community by participating in Hoops for Troops and the Wounded Warriors Project.
Coach K and the Duke Community
The students at the university are also an important part of Coach K’s life. He appreciates their support and often finds a way to include the students, especially those camped out in Krzyzewskiville, a tent community erected each season outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium for students wanting to get a head start on securing entrance to games. He has been known to treat the fans camping out for days, or even weeks, to a pregame strategy session in Cameron or to buy them pizzas while they wait in line. He knows that the unique relationship between his team and the student body is what makes Duke special. The “Cameron Crazies” are regarded as some of the best fans in all of sports.
The university also recognized his vital role on campus, awarding him Duke’s highest honor – the Medal of Honor – at the University Founders’ Day Convocation in 1997.
In September 2001, Krzyzewski and his wife Mickie created the Krzyzewski Family Scholarship Endowment for Duke students from the Carolinas. The $100,000 scholarship, the result of the Krzyzewskis’ gift and additional funds from The Duke Endowment of Charlotte, will provide assistance to undergraduates from North and South Carolina.
“Mickie and Mike Krzyzewski both do so much for our university,” said former Duke President Nan Keohane following the gift. “Their many contributions to our athletic program are well known, and their support of undergraduate academic and residential life at Duke should be, as well.”
During the fall of 2002, Coach K received an Honorary Alumnus Award from the Duke Medical Center for his contributions to the Duke Children’s Health Center. Krzyzewski and his family have made the center a focal point in their efforts to raise the standard of clinical care for children.
Coach K: Author
Add another piece to Krzyzewski’s already impressive resume – best-selling author. Coach K has co-authored two books with Texas writer Don Phillips published by Warner Books. “Leading with the Heart,” emphasizing Krzyzewski’s successful strategies for basketball, business and life, was released in 2000. It reached the New York Times best-seller list.
The story of Duke’s 2001 national championship season, “Five-Point Play,” was released in the fall of 2001. The book relives Duke’s journey toward the 2001 NCAA title, the school’s third in an 11-year span.
Krzyzewski also co-wrote a book with Duke Sports Hall of Famer Bill Brill entitled “A Season is a Lifetime” following the 1992 national championship.
Following the 2008 Olympics, Krzyzewski and his daughter Jamie K. Spatola co-authored their second book together, titled “The Gold Standard: Building a World-Class Team.” The book was released on April 6, 2009, and featured Coach K’s guide to team building, illustrated with experiences from his three years coaching the team that would ultimately win Olympic gold.
Krzyzewski and his daughter Jamie also wrote “Beyond Basketball: Coach K’s Keywords For Success,” which was released in October 2006.