Mike Krzyzewski’s almost there. One more win – whether it’s Tuesday against Michigan State or later this season – and he’ll pass his former coach and mentor as the all-time wins leader in men’s D-I hoops.
Not that it’s a surprise. Bob Knight’s been waiting for this to happen for years. Maybe that’s why Knight had hoped for minimal hoopla this season.
Coach K ended last season at 900 wins, two shy of tying Knight, which led to some good-natured ribbing over the summer. After a 96-55 rout of Presbyterian on Saturday, Krzyzewski was happy to share some of it.
“He says to me, `Michael … Can you tell your kids to win those three games real quick?”‘ Krzyzewski said. “I said, `Coach, yeah, those first three, every game’s important.’ He says, `No, no, not for that. I’m getting tired of saying nice things about you.’
“He says, `Tell your players I’m getting angry, and maybe that will motivate them,”‘ Krzyzewski added. “I said, `Well, Coach, I’ve spent my entire life trying to make sure you haven’t been angry.”‘
Haven’t we all?
Anyway, sounds as if Coach K’s players enjoyed the win as much as their leader. (Not to mention the fans who chanted “902!” in the final moments.)
“I’ll always remember this,” freshman guard Austin Rivers told the Durham Herald-Sun. “This was a big night for him and this is one of the games you can look back and remember. When people talk about the game where Coach K tied Bobby Knight, I can say I was part of the team that contributed to that. It’s amazing. I’m just happy for him.”
Just as notable was junior Ryan Kelly, who remarked that the Devils “want to win every game” because “that how coach approaches it.” Coach K surely smiled at that remark. He learned as much from Knight.
Well, that among other things when he played at Army. Small wonder the two have stayed close through the years.
“It’s kind of neat to have that relationship with him,” Krzyzewski told the paper. “You guys should know that. What a good guy he’s been to me and my family. We have a very loving, strong friendship. He’s had such an influence on my coaching career. No question about it. That’s one of the neat things.”
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- Bob Knight, in all his sound bite glory
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