Having won 983 games (910 at Duke) and four national titles as a college head coach, Mike Krzyzewski is considered by many to be the greatest coach in the history of college basketball. Krzyzewski’s achievements aren’t limited to the college game either, as along with Jerry Colangelo he’s helped rejuvenate a USA Basketball program that had reached an all-time low in the mid-2000’s.
Of course there’s been some controversy this week, with a column claiming that Krzyzewski is using USA Basketball for his own personal benefit. In the days since that column was written late Sunday many have defended the coach, and on Thursday he himself took the time to address the criticism and questions media members in attendance had with relation to the story.
Friday morning Fortune Magazine released its list of the 50 greatest leaders in the world, and Krzyzewski was one of three current college coaches to make the list. The others: South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley and Johns Hopkins swimming coach George Kennedy (36th).
Krzyzewski and Staley are part of a three-person tie for 20th on the list, with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich completing the trio. Here’s what Fortune said about the group:
There’s no playbook for how to become an elite leader in basketball. Whether it’s John Wooden teaching his UCLA players the proper way to tie their shoes or Zen master (and new Knicks president) Phil Jackson referencing Buddha, the point is to get five players working in harmony — however you do it. Three active coaches with very different styles stand out. We’re hard-pressed to say which is best: Duke’s Coach K (above, right), who has developed players for decades with a mixture of toughness and love — in the process becoming the winningest Division I men’s college basketball coach in history and leading the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team to a pair of gold medals? Or the famously terse Coach Pop, who empowers his players by sometimes stepping back? “What do you want me to do?” he has challenged his stars in a time-out. “Figure it out.” And they do: Coach Pop has had more consecutive winning seasons (16) than any active NBA coach. Or Dawn Staley, who has led women’s teams at Temple and South Carolina to storied records? The former WNBA star initially didn’t want to coach. But as Staley noted at her induction into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, she knew she made the right decision when “I started to care more about my players than to win.” That might be the common trait of the great ones.
Also on the list are public figures such as Pope Francis (first), Warren Buffett (fourth), Dalai Lama (ninth) and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (11th). Overall it’s an interesting list, with those receiving mention having a variety of different leadership styles.