Sunday could be a day Mike Krzyzewski remembers for the rest of his life as the Duke head basketball coach goes for history. With 999 wins, a victory on Sunday in New York means Coach K would be the first men’s coach in Division I history to reach four figures, 1,000. The Duke Blue Devils are scheduled to compete against the St. John’s Red Storm on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Winning is nothing new to the head coach as he has been coaching for forty years. Born Michael William Krzyzewski in Chicago, Illinois, on February 13, 1947, Mike attended the United States Military Academy as not only a student but also as a basketball player. He played as a point and shooting guard for Army between the years of 1966 and 1969 under coach Bob Knight. During his senior season, Krzyzewski was the captain of the team, which finished fourth at the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) at Madison Square Garden. In 1969, at his graduation from West Point Mike Krzyzewski married his then girlfriend Carol “Mickie” Marsh.
After graduation, Krzyzewski served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1974. During that time, he coached service teams before resigning from the Army, with the rank of captain. Following his service, Krzyzewski worked as an assistant under Knight on the Indiana Hoosier staff for the 1974-1975 season. When the season ended, he became the coach of Army where he stayed until 1980. During those five years, Krzyzewski led the team to a 73-59 record and a NIT berth.
In 1980, Krzyzewski took a job he would continue to have to this day, the head coach position at Duke. Coaching the Blue Devils has landed Coach K a very impressive resume including almost every award and honor imaginable. Since being with Duke for 35 years, the Blue Devils have won four National Championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010), 12 National Coach of the Year honors, 30 NCAA Tournament bids and 11 Final Four appearances (tied- 2nd All- Time).
While at Duke, Coach K has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2001), Army Sports Hall of Fame (2009), Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame (2010) and Duke Athletics Hall of Fame (2011).
Coach K also is the coach of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team, which has been extraordinary to say the least. Since becoming coach, the team has accumulated a 75-1 record and won numerous gold medals including at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. He has said that he will continue to be the head coach until 2016.
Mike Krzyzewski has built a legacy that very few if any will ever be able to compare to and it all stems from hard work, determination and commitment to excellence. He is a husband, father, friend, son and grandfather off the court but it could be argued by his past and present players that Krzyzewski is more than a coach on the court; he is a father figure, mentor and someone who really cares. He takes pride in a high graduation rate among players and continues to keep in contact even after graduation.
Sunday may be a day in the history books but to the man so many have called coach it is just any other day, any other game.
He says the wins that matter most are the ones that bring titles, not milestones, and he calls the forthcoming accomplishment “a heck of a thing…but it’s not a championship.”