Early Years and Education
Coach Mike Krzyzewski was born on February 13,1947 in Chicago,Illinois, the son of Polish American, Catholic parent.His mother’s name is Emily M. (née Pituch) while his father’s name is William Krzyzewski.
He grew up as a Catholic, Krzyzewski went to St. Helen Catholic School in Ukrainian Village, Chicago and,later, Archbishop Weber High School in Chicago, a Catholic preparatory school designed solely for boys.
He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point,New York, in 1969, and was a player under the legendary basketball Coach Bob Knight.
He was trained to become an officer in the United States Army and was the team captain of the Army Basketball team in his senior season in the year 1968–69 season.
He led his team to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where West Point finished fourth in the tournament.
From 1969 to 1974, Krzyzewski served as an officer in the United States Army and directed service teams for three years. In 2005, he was presented West Point’s Distinguished Graduate Award.
Coach K’s disciplined, mentally tough teams can be seen as an extension of his own upbringing.
From 1969-74, Krzyzewski served his country, directing service teams for three years and serving a two-year stint as head coach at the U.S. Military Academy Prep School in Belvoir, Va.
In 1974, he resigned from the Army having attained the rank of Captain.
When Coach K was just 26, Bob Knight,one of the most successful Basketball Coach ever, his former coach at Army, offered him a graduate assistantship at Indiana University.
He joined Hoosiers in their historic 1974-75 season,the 1975 squad posted an 18-0 mark in the Big Ten and a 31-1 overall record.He spent only one year with the team before he was called by his alma mater as Head coach of the Army Cadets. He spent five seasons with the Cadets and led them to a 73–59 record, one ECEAC playoff appearance and one NIT berth.
Rome they say wasn’t built in a day,same can be said about success stories of Coach K,It does not just happen overnight.
They take time, and the latest chapter in Duke basketball is no exception.
Krzyzewski joined Duke University squad in 1980-81 with a thin talent base outside of All-America.
The squad hustled its way to a bid in the NIT, but it was obvious that the recruiting trail was Krzyzewski’s only answer if the team was to succeed in the long run.
He landed a recruiting class in 1982 made up of Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, David Henderson, Jay Bilas and Weldon Williams.
It was rated one of the nation’s best and put Duke on the map to stay. Joining that powerful group was guard Tommy Amaker in 1983.
Krzyzewski simultaneously spent more than a decade as one of the architects of the revitalization of USA Basketball.
He was appointted as Head Coach of the United States National Team on Oct. 26, 2005, Coach K presided over one of the golden eras of USA Basketball.
In 2004,it was widely reported that the Lakers offered him a $40 million contract over five years. That was far above his contract at Duke, where he earns about $2 million a season.
“I always wanted to be the Duke coach,but the allure of this very prestigious position was placed against that love, and I just had to go through the process.”
“This has been the perfect place to coach, teach and learn and be a part of the community,I don’t think anybody could ever say they would never do anything else.”
“So I won’t say that. But let’s put it this way,I’m ready to get rolling.”Coach Krzyzewski said in a press conference after deciding against Lakers offer,ending a tense weekend for the University and its players.
At the end of the 1983 season, after three years as Duke University coach, the Blue Devils were not doing well at all in the league.
They were headed to the ACC Tournament where they had to face No. 2 ranked Virginia in the first round.
Duke didn’t just get beaten. they were flogged. The final score was 109-66, the worst loss the Blue Devils had ever suffered in the ACC tournament.
Later that night, Coach K agreed to meet a few friends at a restaurant. As he was walking toward the table, one of those friends actually grabbed all the knives off the table and laughed,
“Coach, we don’t want you to do anything rash.” Trying to make light of the situation, another friend lifted his glass of water and offered a mock toast: “Here’s to a night let’s soon forget.”
Coach K didn’t laugh off the loss and he didn’t join the toast. Instead, he lifted his own glass and said, “Here’s to a night we will never forget.
” He wanted to make sure that the sting of losing that night was something that stayed with him throughout his career. He never wanted to have another game like that one.
The following season, Coach K welcomed his team back at the start of the basketball season.
During the team first practice, he walked them on to the court and above their heads, in bright red, the scoreboard was lit with the numbers 109-66.
Their coach wanted his players to remember how badly they had been beaten, and wanted them to remember how much it hurt.
He started off a new season by remembering the pain of the previous one’s ending.
In 1984, He was in his fourth season,he was only managed to win 39 games against 47 losses.
According to the story, there was a faction of Duke boosters that wanted the young coach fired. Then-Athletic Director Tom Butters, though, choose to be patient and allow Coach K to perfect and restructure the team.
“I don’t know how young coaches do it today, but for me, I was just completely in the moment,”
“Even what our team might be eventually – it was survival mode. I got that from being at Army and inheriting a group that was 7-44 before I got them.”
“And here, they were going through a huge change. I think that’s why I got the job.” Krzyzewski said
“He and I had lunch a couple of times, and that was when Duke was trying to get rid of him. It was vicious. It was vicious, vicious, vicious,”
“Some of it was inhumane,the Iron Dukes and the not-so Iron Dukes were trying to get him out of there.
said Gene Banks, who was a senior on Krzyzewski’s first team.
His biggest thing was they just had to believe in him and follow the plan. ‘We’re going to be OK,’ he said, ‘we’re going to be OK.’ ”
In 1982, Krzyzewski had signed one of the top recruiting classes in the country, bringing in McDonald’s All-American Johnny Dawkins, and Jay Bilas, Mark Alarie and David Henderson.
The four freshmen started for the 1982-83 team, Krzyzewski’s third – but they finished a disappointing 11-17 with a 3-11 mark in ACC play.
In 1994-95 season, Coach K had a surgery on a ruptured disk in his lower back on the eve of the 1994-95 season complicated the adjustment.
Intent on powering through the pain, Krzyzewski returned too soon to an active role on the sidelines.
“In ’95 he didn’t know he was vulnerable,so that was a big shock to him. And that was one of the shocks he had to get over: ‘Oh, my God! I’m actually human.“That was when I saw things were really changing,”
“One of the things we’ve learned is the emotional toll that chronic pain takes. It just completely changes everything.”
Coach K’s wife, Mickie Krzyzewski recalled.
The coach needed a stool at practice to keep him off his feet. When the team traveled to Hawaii in late December for the Rainbow Classic, Krzyzewski went days without being able to sleep.
It does not take long for a conversation about the highest levels of success in the basketball world to turn to the name Krzyzewski.
In 38 seasons at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski – a Naismith Hall of Fame coach, five-time national champion and 12-time Final Four participant – has built a dynasty that few programs in the history of the game can match.
No coach in Division I men’s basketball history has won more games than Coach K’s 1,100.
Krzyzewski will enter the 2018-19 season with a 1,100-338 record in 43 years as a Head Coach, including a 1,027-279 mark in 38 seasons at Duke.
Under Coach K, the NBA Draft has become an annual rite of passage for Duke players into the highest level of professional basketball.
Krzyzewski has tutored 61 NBA Draft picks during his time at Duke, including a total of 38 first-round selections that leads all active coaches.
Duke has had at least one player taken in 31 of the 38 NBA Drafts during the Krzyzewski Era.
Under Coach K’s watch, Duke has produced multiple All-ACC Academic selections in 11 consecutive years.
The 2015 NCAA championship featured a program-high five All-ACC Academic honourees Quin Snyder, Amile Jefferson and Grayson Allen are the only players in Duke history to earn All-ACC Academic honors four times.
Jefferson, a three-time captain, departed the university in 2017 with
both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
Krzyzewski has had six players collect a total of nine CoSIDA Academic All-America honours headlined by two-time first-team honourees Battier (2000, 2001) and Mason Plumlee (2012, 2013).
Krzyzewski has been an executive-in-residence at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business since 2001 and helped found the Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics (COLE).
In 2001 when he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Krzyzewski has also been inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame (2009), the Chicago land Sports Hall of Fame (2010) and the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame (2011).
Coach K has been named National Coach of the Year by major organisations a dozen times in eight different seasons, most recently in 2001.
In 2004, he won the Claire Bee Coach of the Year, an award that honors the active Division I men’s basketball coach who has made the most positive contribution to the sport during the preceding year.
He has been voted ACC Coach of the Year five times, most recently in 2000.His five ACC COY awards is the the second highest in league history.
Coach K has also been the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award (2012) and the Lapchick Character Award (2015).
In 2005, he became the youngest recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Award at the United States Military Academy.
He was given the recipient of the Marshall Medal in 2014, the highest award presented by the Association of the United States Army. This award is designed for individuals who has exhibited selfless service to the United States of America.
Coach K has been named USA Basketball Coach of the Year seven times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016).
He also received the United States Sports Academy’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award in 1992, 2009 and 2012.
During his tenure at the helm of the program, the U.S. National Team amassed an extraordinary 88-1 record .
The team won gold medals at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2012 London Olympics, 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics, as well as a bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Coach K was 24-0 in the Olympics as head coach of the USMNT and his time at the helm ended with the team in the midst of a National Team-record 76-game winning streak that began in 2006.
Coach K has successfully groomed more than 20 of his former players or assistants who are currently working either as a Coach or working in front office roles across professional and college basketball.
Seven of Coach K’s former players or assistants are currently Division I as Head Coach in across American Universities namely,Harvard,Notre Dame,Northwestern,Central Florida,Arizona State,Marquette and Pittsburgh.
Quin Snyder is currently the Head Coach of the NBA’s Utah Jazz, headlining a long list of former players, staff and managers that are connected to the NBA.
Grant Hill as part-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Elton Brand as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, Trajan Langdon as assistant General Manager of the Brooklyn Nets and Shane Battier as Vice President of analytics and development for the Miami Heat.
Krzyzewski has shown a firm commitment to taking care of his own, having at least three former Duke captains on his staff every season since 1996-97.
He is currently serving on boards for, while also assuming vital roles with, the Duke Children’s Hospital, the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, the NABC Foundation, the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and the Emily Krzyzewski Center.
On Jan. 18, 2014, former President and co-founder of C-Change George H.W. Bush traveled to Durham to recognise Krzyzewski for his personal commitment and leadership in working to eliminate cancer as a public health threat.
This should serve as reminder to everyone that no matter how many obstacles we are facing in life, we can not afford to lose sight of striving for a fulfilling life.
Hard work and resilience are rewarded and the universe’s blessings are available to us at all times.
We hope you have enjoyed exploring Coach Mike biography and her success story have inspired you to new discoveries.
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