Few coaches are able to become such icons at a university, so engrained in the very fiber of an athletic program’s identity, as coach Mike Krzyzewski is at Duke.
Considering his admittance into that rarified realm of collegiate sports, many have looked to Krzyzewski for comment on a situation that concerns another person in that class: Joe Paterno and Penn State.
Paterno was fired in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and passed away in January.
On CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, Krzyzewski was asked about the Paterno firing.
“It was horrible, and I’ve respected Coach Paterno my entire life and had a chance to get to know him really well in the last year of his life,” Krzyzewski said. “I thought it was really not well done in handling the situation that – it’s a difficult situation to encounter.”
Krzyzewski, who has been at Duke for more than three decades, still pales in comparison to the more than five decades Paterno spent at Penn State.
“You had somebody who’s given six decades of service to the university and done such an incredible job. Somehow, you have to let – something has to play out and respect the fact that you’ve gone through all these experiences for six decades,” he insists. “It doesn’t just go out the window right at the end. I thought it was a real mistake by Penn State’s leadership.”
Krzyzewski leads the Blue Devils into 2012-13 with a two-man recruiting class that looks to improve upon a 27-7 record from this past season.