DURHAM NC — North Carolina and Duke face off in the final game of the regular season at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday. It’s also the last regular season game of his career for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
On March 18, 1980, Mike Krzyzewski was named head coach at Duke University after five years in the Army. After a 73-59 record with Army, his first three years with the Blue Devils were quite a struggle.
In modern times, having gone through his first three seasons between ’38 and ’47, he could quite possibly have been shown the door. Luckily we were more patient then.
Coach K enjoyed a few formative seasons in his early years at Duke before leading the program to five national championships, 12 Final Four appearances, 12 ACC regular-season championships, 15 ACC tournament championships and more.
Krzyzewski was also named head coach of the United States Men’s Olympic Team in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 and has had nothing but successes. He was 24-0 as head coach and led the national team to a record 76-game winning streak starting in 2006.
In 2016, he became the only basketball coach to lead a nation to three consecutive Olympic gold medals. He also led the US to the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Cup titles, which was the first time the United States had ever won back-to-back world titles.
As his career draws to a close, here are some of the most memorable moments from his career:
November 30, 1980: Coach K’s first game at Duke
In his first game with the Blue Devils, he won Stetson 67-49, ushering in a new era in the Duke basketball program.
March 1, 1981: Coach K’s first signature win
Gene Banks helped lead the Blue Devils to their first major win of the Mike Krzyzewski era. Banks made his name in the history of the Duke-UNC rivalry with his putback with 19 seconds remaining to give the unranked Blue Devils a 66-65 win over then-No. 11 Teer-Heels.
March 10, 1984: Duke beats North Carolina in the ACC tournament
A team of Tar Heel, led by Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins, were obvious national championship favorites with their 14-0 ACC record to prove it, but Duke was confident and adamant about winning that game.
Johnny Dawkins and Tommy Amaker led the Blue Devils 40-32 at halftime, but Carolina opened the second half with a 12-2 run. Still, David Henderson hit four late free throws to keep Duke ahead and secure the 77-75 win.
March 15, 1985: First NCAA tournament win
No. 10 Duke faced Pepperdine in the first round of the NCAA tournament and achieved a 75-62 win, giving Coach K his first NCAA tournament win.
#1 Duke took on #6 Georgia Tech at the Greensboro Coliseum for the ACC Championship. The Blue Devils defeated the Yellow Jackets 68-67 to earn Duke Basketball’s first ACC title in two decades and first under Coach K.
March 29, 1986: First Final Four under Coach K
A 71-69 win over Kansas marked Dukes’ first Final Four appearance under Krzyzewski and earned them a spot in the title game against Louisville. This was the beginning of Duke’s appearance in six of the next seven Final Fours.
After progressing fourth to the Final Four and fifth overall since K’s tenure, the Blue Devils returned the favor to UNLV for losing their 1990 title with a stunning last-second victory over the undefeated Runnin’ Rebels.
This led the Blue Devils to their third game on the big stage. A 72-65 win over Kansas gave Coach K and the Duke basketball program their first national championship. Three players from that team – Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill – have since retired their shirts.
Duke repeated himself as national champion in 1992 with a 71-51 win over Michigan.
In the East Regional Final, the Blue Devils faced Rick Pitino and the Kentucky Wildcats. The game went into overtime and after Kentucky took a 98-96 lead, Laettner took over for the Blue Devils and scored their last six points.
With seven seconds left, Kentucky’s Sean Woods hit a running one-hander on the lane to put Kentucky 103-102 with 2.1 seconds left. Duke called for a timeout to prepare for their final game.
An unguarded Grant Hill in the inbounds game threw the ball 79 feet to Laettner, who dribbled once to the right, turned left again, and pitched.the shot‘ just before time was up, giving Duke a 104-103 win.
With a win over Michigan State that day, K became the top coach in Division I history with 903, overtaking his own former coach Bobby Knight.
A 99-69 win over Utah Valley gave Krzyzewski his 1,000. Victory at Duke, the 1,073. overall, the highest all-time for a coach in the history of men’s Division I college basketball.
https://www.wavy.com/news/north-carolina/with-retirement-nearing-here-are-dukes-coach-ks-most-memorable-moments/ As retirement nears, here are Duke’s Coach K.’s most memorable moments