Two W's for Coach K spells NCAA history on multiple fronts


DURHAM, N.C. -- If all goes well for Duke this weekend in California, Mike Krzyzewski will make history in a couple of ways.

The top-seeded Blue Devils (32-4) left for Anaheim, Calif., on Tuesday for the West Region semifinals, and there's a chance that by the time Duke returns home, Krzyzewski will have his record-tying 902nd career victory.

Wins over Arizona on Thursday and the Connecticut-San Diego State winner Saturday would move Krzyzewski into a tie atop the all-time wins list for Division I men's coaches with Bob Knight, his mentor and coach at Army in the late 1960s.

It also would clinch his 12th career trip to the Final Four -- matching the mark held by John Wooden.

"There will be a lot of guys who will win 900 games eventually," Krzyzewski said. "But to be the first two, and it be the coach and his player to do it, is ... something very unique, and that's the type of relationship and friendship I've had with Coach Knight. I'm glad I can share a moment, that moment with him. I've shared ... really good ones with him."

A victory in the Final Four not only would push Krzyzewski into first place by himself, it would put the reigning national champions back in the title game.

"It says a lot about him, his commitment to our game, his commitment to his kids and to the program," said Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins, one of Krzyzewski's early star players who later spent 11 years as one of his most trusted assistants.

"That will always stand out to me, someone who has dedicated his life to doing what he's doing. I'm just happy to see it turn out the way it has turned out for him and the program."

The milestones certainly have piled up in the past 36 years as Krzyzewski compiled a 900-283 record at Army and Duke with four national championships with the Blue Devils.

"It's mind-boggling. I thought it was a heck of an accomplishment to coach 800, much less win 900," North Carolina coach and Tobacco Road rival Roy Williams said. "It's off the charts."

The accomplishments seem to have come with exceptional frequency this season. Krzyzewski started the year in fourth place on the victories list but passed Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith in December. That came a month after he picked up his 800th win at Duke.

"What really impresses me is the longevity of what he's done over the last 20, 30 years," said Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill, who led Duke to national titles in 1991 and 1992.

"With each generation of players coming into Duke, he's been able to adapt to that generation and figure out how to motivate it. The '86 generation, with Johnny Dawkins and those guys, they were different than the '96 generation, and then the '06 generation is different from them. He's been able to connect with every one of them. It's a remarkable thing to do, and not many coaches can do it. He's figured out a way that he can, and that might be his greatest achievement."

Krzyzewski credits part of his success to being a former point guard for Knight.

During the three seasons Krzyzewski won varsity letters while playing for Knight at Army, the Black Knights went 51-23. Krzyzewski was the team captain of the 1968-69 squad that went 18-10 and reached a second straight National Invitation Tournament.

"I feel like it's amazing that a coach and his point guard can be the first two coaches in the history of (the men's) game to win 900, and that it says something about the guy who has 902 and it also says something about the United States Military Academy," Krzyzewski said.

He also has said that Knight's win total should be higher because he still should be at Indiana, where "he'd have probably 1,100 wins."

Then again, the 64-year-old Krzyzewski certainly has shown no signs of slowing down. Reaching 1,000 wins -- and beyond -- remains a realistic possibility.

He still knows how to draw a crowd -- even when no one expects it.

As the Blue Devils boarded their bus to the airport Tuesday afternoon, members of the Ohio University baseball team lined a street outside Cameron Indoor Stadium a few hours before that evening's game against Duke. The Bobcats snapped photos and video of the coach with their cellphones and cheered Krzyzewski as he shook hands with a few of their players.

"I hope he does (stick around for 1,000 wins), not because of a certain number but because of what he means to our game," Dawkins said.

 

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