Congratulations to coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke on career win # 903, which moves him into first place for all-time wins in Men's collegiate basketball.
On winning his most recent game, 74-69 against Michigan State, he passed Bob Knight (who held the record at 902 wins), his former coach at West Point. Knight - who provided color commentary for the game - as well coach K's family and players were there to help him mark the occasion. It was also fitting that the setting for such a landmark victory was Madison Square Garden, long hailed as "The Mecca of Basketball".
When Krzyzewski was hired at Duke in 1980, not only did people not know who he was, but they couldn't pronounce his name, let alone spell it. 31 years later, the pronunciation and spelling still stump some p, but at least he's fine being addressed as "Coach K".
Over time, he molded Duke into a national power, while in the same token, elevated their rivalry with North Carolina into the premier basketball rivalry in the country. Traditionally a heated rivalry, without Coach K, the scales would tip a lot heavily in favor of the Tar Heels.
Given his military background, and reputation as a tireless recruiter, Coach K sought to bring in the kind of players that he best felt could fit his vision for the program. As a private school, Duke's rigorous academic standards are no secret to anyone. You often hear how some folks say that some institutions need to “lower" their admission standards in order to recruit the kind of talent necessary to win games.
Coach K has proven that it is possible to find the players that can compete both on the hardwood as well as in the classroom. And he has done it without compromising neither his values nor that of the university. How many times have we heard of a program(s) that has(have) been mired in scandal because a player(s) had altered transcripts, took money from booster, received undisclosed "benefits", et cetera; resulting in said program having to forfeit wins and/or any championship banners? Not at Duke, and I'm not holding my breath either. Not to put the school on a pedestal, but if you were to look for dirt under the rocks, I doubt that Duke would be the first place you'd be looking.
His coaching philosophy, which challenges his players to strive for the highest possible level of excellence, has seen Duke overcome far more talented such as the 1990-91 UNLV team (that featured future NBA players Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, and Greg Anthony) as well as Michigan's "Fab Five" team. In the end, good coaching, discipline and fundamentals will always overcome raw talent.
All the wins and accolades however, don't even come close in measuring what Coach K has meant to the people around him. The man is far much greater than the coach, and I would be right in believing that his impact off the court is probably what he values most.