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Mike Krzyzewski - NCSHOF Member of the Month

By Helen Ross and Rick Strunk, 01/25/19, 5:00AM EST


Truth be told, it’s hard to believe he has anything left to accomplish.

In 38 years at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski has already won more basketball games than any other coach in NCAA history. He’s led the Blue Devils to five NCAA titles and 12 Final Fours.

But when the AP Top 25 list came out on Jan. 14, Krzyzewski became the coach with the most No. 1 rankings to his credit at 122 – surpassing the late John Wooden. And given the plethora of talent on the current Blue Devil team, that record should continue to grow.

Krzyzewski came to Duke in 1980, the same year his friend and fellow North Carolina Sports Hall of Famer, Jim Valvano, began coaching at N.C. State. Valvano experienced early success, guiding the Wolfpack to the 1983 NCAA crown, a year before Krzyzewski got his first 20-win season at Duke.

Coach K caught up quickly, though, He led Duke to its first NCAA crown in 1991 with a 72-65 win over Kansas, coached at the time by another N.C. Sports Hall of Famer in Roy Williams. The Blue Devils played giant-killer in the semifinals, too, beating UNLV, a team that had won its previous 45 games.

A year later, Duke knocked off Michigan by 20 points for its second national title. The signature win of that season, though, was the regional final where Christian Laettner hit a basket at the buzzer to give the Blue Devils a 104-103 win over Kentucky – which Sports Illustrated dubbed the greatest college game in history.

The Blue Devils’ – and Krzyzewski’s -- record over those two championship seasons was an impressive 66-9.  

Duke’s other NCAA titles came in 2001 when the Blue Devils beat Arizona, in 2010 with a win over Butler and in 2015 when Wisconsin fell in the title game. In all, Duke has played for the national crown nine times with Krzyzewski as coach.

Krzyzewski entered the 2018-19 season with a record of 1,100-338 overall as a head coach, including his record at Army. His Duke record was 1,027-279 at the start of the current campaign.

No other NCAA Division I men’s basketball coach has won more than 1,000 games. Krzyzewski broke that threshold amid much fanfare on the first chance he got when the Blue Devils beat St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 25, 2015.

"To do it here, to win the 1000th, you've gotta be a lucky guy," Krzyzewski said after the game. "I like my place, Cameron (Indoor Stadium), but this is a magical place."

The Blue Devils are currently chasing their 22nd straight – and 34th overall -- 20-win season under Coach K. Duke has averaged 25.5 wins per season with Krzyzewski at the helm and topped 30 on 14 different occasions.

Krzyzewski’s 14 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles are the most in league history and Duke’s 12 Final Four appearances under Coach K are tied for the most in NCAA history.

Krzyzewski, who was inducted into the NCSHOF in 2000, attended the U.S. Military Academy where he played basketball for the man who would become his long-time mentor, Bobby Knight. He later coached at Army for five years before landing in Durham, N.C.

While at Duke, Coach K has coached 32 All-Americans, including 20 who earned consensus honors. He’s also had eight named NCAA Player of the Year.

Krzyzewksi has also proven to be the same kind of coaching mentor that Knight was to him. Among his former players who went from being one of his assistants to a head coaching job are Marquette’s Steve Wojciechowski, Pitt’s Jeff Capel, Northwestern’s Chris Collins and Harvard’s Tommy Amaker.

Krzyzewski, who is also known for his philanthropic efforts, achieved great success as an Olympic coach, too, guiding the United States to gold medals in 2008, ’12 and ‘16. His Olympic coaching record is 28-0. The Naismith Hall of Famer also coached the Americans to a pair of World Cup golds.

For more information on Krzyzewski, click here: