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Mike Krzyzewski

From Academic Kids

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Michael William "Mike" Krzyzewski (pronounced Sha-shef-ski, born February 13, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois), often referred to as Coach K, is the coach of the Duke University men's basketball team, one of the most successful of the 1980s to 2000s.

He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY for college and played basketball while training to become an officer in the U.S. Army. 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 in Belvoir, Virginia.

In 1974, he resigned from the Army having attained the rank of captain. At age 26, Bobby Knight, his former coach at Army, called and offered him a graduate assistant position 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 two NIT berths and left with a five-year record of 73-59.

In 1981, he took the Duke job. After some difficult early seasons, the Duke 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, with the last two years in the streak (1991 and 1992) ending with national championships. In the 1992 offseason, he 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.)

"Coach K" also led Duke to Final Fours in 1994, 1999, 2001, and 2004, with another national championship in 2001. With 66 wins in the NCAA tournament, Coach K has surpassed Dean Smith as the winningest coach in the tournament.

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Krzyzewski and Bob Knight at West Point.

During his years at Duke, Coach K has led the Blue Devils to 10 Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles and nine ACC tournament titles (at the end of the 2004-05 season). Five of the ACC tournament titles were consecutive (1999-2003). He has also won 12 national coach of the year honors in eight different seasons. He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

Coach K has over 700 career victories, only the 17th coach in NCAA history to reach that milestone. Other coaches who have also reached that level include Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight, Eddie Sutton, Jerry Tarkanian, Lute Olson, and Jim Boeheim.

During his long tenure at Duke, Krzyzewski was given the opportunity to coach in the NBA three times. The first time was following the 1990 season after he led the Blue Devils to their third straight Final Four. The Boston Celtics courted Coach K, but he declined the Celtics' 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 he again chose to stay at Duke. In 2004, Coach K was also courted by the Los Angeles Lakers, following the departure of high-profile coach Phil Jackson after their loss in the NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons. He was given a formal offer, 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.

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