Coach K downplays his rivalry with Dean Smith

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Barring the mother of all upsets, Mike Krzyzewksi will tie Dean Smith on the all-time wins chart Monday night when No. 1 Duke beats Elon.

Victory No. 979 isn’t that significant for Coach K – there will many, many more as he’ll also be tying to setting more records this season and in the coming years – except for one thing. It ties him with his former Tobacco Road rival, a man about whom Krzyzewski once told his assistants that if he ever acts like Smith, “just shoot me.”

Or maybe he didn’t.

See, the other good thing about Coach K tying Smith’s wins total is it’s an opportunity for newspapers and websites to roll out lengthy features about the two and their careers. This one from the Raleigh News & Observer makes the claim that Krzyzewski’s quote (part of John Feinstein’s 1997 book, “A March to Madness”) isn’t true.

“There are a lot of things said when coaches are talking, whether they be frivolous things, truthful things or things that you’re goofing around about, that if we wanted a writer there, we probably wouldn’t do the things we do,” Krzyzewski told the paper. “That’s all hearsay.”

Too bad. It was one of the better quotes I’ve read from Coach K. Honest and revealing.

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