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Everlasting Joy - So long Coach K
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I was 10 years old and playing with Hot Wheels on the hardwood floor of our hall when my dad walked in with a Duke Basketball program to preview the upcoming season. It was 1980.

The feature story was titled, “Can You Say Krzyzewski?” and was a look at Duke’s new basketball coach. We were living in Greensboro, N.C., the heart of college basketball, and my dad was a Duke graduate so I don’t remember a time we didn’t root for the Blue Devils. I stopped playing with my Hot Wheels and read the article in the hall. 

Coach K is now legendary after 41 seasons at Duke, but I remember when his job was on shaky ground. If it wasn’t for a freshman class that featured Johnny Dawkins and Mark Alarie, two players that would take Coach K to his first national championship game in 1986, he probably wouldn’t have made it out of the mid-1980s in Durham.

As a rising high school senior in 1987, I was fortunate to attend Coack K’s summer basketball camp at Duke and had the privilege of playing against him and the other coaches at the end of every day at camp.

The rising seniors were the only group which got to play the coaches and we’d spend most of the day trying to figure out teams we could assemble to give us the best chance against them. We never came close. Coach K was strong off the dribble and tough on defense. The coaches, all former D-1 players, would play at half speed and still drill us.

Coach K struck it rich the next year with a recruiting class that featured Bobby Hurley and Christian Laettner. That nucleus would give him his first national title in 1991.

My college roommate had season tickets to Duke games because his dad was a professor at the university. I remember Coach K trying to calm the Cameron Crazies when they threw sneakers on the court against UNC because J.R. Reid had illegally autographed a shoe.

My favorite Duke Basketball moment came during the 1992 March Madness tournament – The Shot by Laettner. I was watching the game at an off-campus apartment crammed full of about 30 college students, most of them against Duke.

Laettner nailed a turnaround that would send the Blue Devils to Coach K’s fifth Final Four. He has now been there 12 times.

Coach K has managed to become the winningest coach in college basketball the right way, with dignity and without NCAA investigations. Said Coach K on this upcoming season being his last, “My family and I view today as a celebration.”

His career is no doubt a celebration and college basketball will certainly have a huge void to fill after Coach K’s farewell tour ends.