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Jan. 26, 2015 — M or K = 1,000

It’s highly coincidental that a man whose initials are “M” and “K” — the Roman and Greek shorthand notations for the quantity of one thousand — coached his 1,000th men’s Division I college basketball victory yesterday in New York. The coach is Mike Krzyzewski, the head coach of Duke University.

The milestone win was an enormous comeback victory by the Blue Devils in Madison Square Garden against St. John’s University yesterday afternoon. Duke was down by 10 shortly before the eight-minute TV timeout in the second half before going on a 25-7 run to finish out the game.

The current Duke team may be ranked fifth in the nation, but it is in a college basketball environment in which Kentucky and its cadre of nearly a dozen McDonald’s All-Americans were touted as the finest team before even setting foot on the court, while the remainder of Division I basketball is being seen as fighting for first in Class B. Indeed, while Kentucky’s freshmen are worrying about their NBA draft status next year, Duke center Marshall Plumlee made news when he announced that he will be joining the U.S. Army through the ROTC program after he graduates in 2016.

Times have changed; when we’ve gone from the “hardship” draft to the “one and done” player and, in recent years, the “one and done” recruiting class.

When you broaden Krzyzewski’s achievement across all divisions and sanctioning bodies for four-year men’s college basketball, he is in the midst of a group of five active coaches who head the list of all-time winners:

1085 Harry Statham, McKendree University (NAIA and NCAA Division II)
1018 Danny Myles, Oregon Tech (NAIA)
1000 Mike Krzyzewski, Duke (NCAA Division I)
997 Herb Magee, Philadelphia University (NCAA Division II)
962 Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University (NCAA Division I)

Given the changes in basketball over the last 35 years, it is remarkable that all five men are active coaches. The have adapted and changed when it comes to attracting talent, motivating and molding it, then changing both offensive and defensive tactics to fit the situation.

Krzyzewski’s resume has recently been bolstered with his work with the U.S. national team with Boeheim as one of his assistants.

Of course, it’s been said that the United States creates so much basketball talent that anyone off the street could coach a group of 12 NBA All-Stars to the Olympics. Yet, there were times during the 2000s when the imperviousness of the national team was questioned and tested — including an embarrassing sixth-place finish in Indianapolis in 2002.

Krzyzewski has righted the ship, getting the U.S. team to win the last two Olympics and the last two FIBA World Cups.

Yet there are still milestones ahead; he needs 99 more wins to get past Pat Summitt’s mark for NCAA Division I women.


1 Comment»

  Adam wrote @

Coach K is great. I won’t argue that point but using Kentucky as an example of what’s wrong is misleading.
Kentucky does have great freshman but you forgot Marcus Lee, Aaron and Andrew Harrison and Dakari Johnson. All of whom are sophomores. Don’t forget Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress; both juniors. Poythress is also going to graduate this year after only three years of college. The bulk of the team does not consist of freshman.
Duke recruited several current and past UK “one and done” players so Coach K is not a shining example of recruiting guys who stay for four years. Duke has it’s share of one and dones too. Remember these guys; Kyrie Irving, Jabari Parker, Austin Rivers, Josh Roberts, Corey Magette, Will Avery. All one and done Duke players. Let’s also not forget current players; Okafor, Winslow and Jones. Current Dookies who are also going to be one and done players.
Let’s not also forget that Duke has special admission standards and grade requirements for football and basketball players under the “discretionary admits” policy. It’s in the Duke athletics manual, if you don’t believe me.
Coach K is a great coach and Duke is a very good program but they aren’t perfect.

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