Michael William "Mike" Krzyzewski (born February 13, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois), often referred to as Coach K, is the head coach of the Duke University men's basketball team. The program has been one of the
most successful of the 1980s to 2000s. He also was picked to coach the U.S. national basketball team, which includes the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Krzyzewski, the son of Polish immigrants, attended the United States Military
Academy at West Point, New
York for college and played basketball while
training to become an officer in the U.S. Army He was captain of the
Army basketball team in his senior season, 1968-69, leading his team to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) at Madison
Square Garden in New York City. From 1969-74, Krzyzewski served in the military and 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 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
In 1974, he resigned from the Army having attained the rank of captain. Bobby
Knight, his former coach at Army, called and offered Krzyzewski, then 26 years old, a graduate
assistant position at Indiana University. That 1975 squad posted an 18-0 Big Ten mark and a 31-1 overall
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 two NIT berths and left with a five-year
record of 73-59 (.553).
In 1981, he was hired by Duke
University to coach the university basketball team. After some difficult early seasons, the program
achieved a level of success not seen in college basketball since the John Wooden
years at UCLA. Duke lost in the NCAA championship game in 1986 and then made five consecutive Final Fours starting in 1988,
the last two of which resulted in NCAA titles ( 1991 and 1992). In the 1992 offseason, Krzyzewski served as an assistant on the Dream Team, the legendary US Olympic
basketball team that was the first to feature NBA players. (Duke star
Christian Laettner, who graduated that year, was the only college player
on the Dream Team.)
Krzyzewski also led Duke to Final Fours in 1994,
1999, 2001, and
2004, with another national championship in 2001. With 68 career wins
in the NCAA tournament, Mike Krzyzewski is the winningest coach in the history of the event.
During his years at Duke, Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to twelve Atlantic
Coast Conference regular-season titles and ten ACC tournament titles (at the end of the 2005-06
season). Five of the ACC tournament titles were in consecutive years (1999-2003). In addition, Krzyzewski has won twelve National Coach of the Year awards.
Krzyzewski was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame
in 2001. Soon after, Duke University rewarded him a lifetime contract with the school. This means that he can coach up to
Duke's retirement age of 65.
Krzyzewski has totalled over 700 career victories and is only the seventeenth coach in NCAA history
to reach that milestone. Other such coaches include Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight, Eddie Sutton, Jerry Tarkanian,
Lute Olson, Jim Boeheim,
and Jim Calhoun. His total coaching record - as of March 18, 2006 -
is 753-249 (.751).
During his long tenure at Duke, Krzyzewski has been given the opportunity to coach in the NBA three times. The first time came after the 1990 season when he led the Blue Devils to their third straight Final Four appearance. The Boston
Celtics offered a coaching position to Krzyzewski, but he soon declined their offer. The next season,
Krzyzewski proceeded to lead the Blue Devils to the first of two straight national championships. In 1994, he was pursued by the Portland Trail Blazers, but again
he chose to stay with Duke. In 2004, Krzyzewski was also interviewed
by the Los Angeles Lakers following the departure of high-profile coach
Phil Jackson. He was given a formal offer from Lakers general manager
Mitch Kupchak, reportedly for five years and $40 million, but again
turned down the NBA.
Duke has named the floor at its basketball venue, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Coach K Court in his honor. Similarly, the grassy area outside of Cameron has been named Krzyzewskiville or "K-Ville".
Krzyzewski has also been an active community leader in the Durham area. In the Fall of 2005, he and
his family celebrated the opening of the Emily Krzyzewski Family LIFE Center, a community center named in honor of his late
Krzyzewski was picked to coach the U.S. basketball
team for the 2006 FIBA World Championships and 2008
Beijing Olympics on October 26, 2005.