March 4, 2022
Way back yonder in 1999 when BLSays contributions to American culture had yet to reach double digits, I decided that if I was going to write about sports … and other stuff; I better learn how to spell “Krzyzewski“.
It doesn’t matter if 32% of Dean Dome’s Lower Level still can’t correctly spell “Guthridge” or “Doherty“; I oughta learn how to spell the name of such a high profile figure in local sports. So, I did …
It’s easy if you can get passed the “Krzyz…”. It’s where the “z’s” and the “y” fit in that confuse folks. I don’t suppose it really matters now. If it even mattered back in 1999.
Mike Krzyzewski’s last game as Duke’s Head Basketball Coach in Cameron Indoor Stadium is tomorrow night … or tonight … or “was last Saturday night” depending on when you are read this. He will, of course, still coach Duke in the “Who Cares” ACC Tournament and then into March Madness. He “could” win a 6th National Championship but odds are he won’t.
If somehow Coach K DOES win his 6th NC it sure will upset A LOT of easily upset people around this area.
Like over 95% of you, I have never met Mike Krzyzewski. My impressions and opinions of him are all based on what I’ve seen on TV, read about in media, and gathered from the opinions of others over the 42 years of his coaching career at Duke.
Several months ago I was chatting with a lifelong friend – one of THE Sweetest … Genuinely Nicest Human Beings I’ve ever known – and somehow “Coach K’s” name came up.
She noted that her Mother, from whom she inherited her sweetness and niceness, until her dying day well into her 90s … HATED COACH K! Her Mother was not a UNC alum or strongly affiliated with any area sports team.
Our conversation moved along and she never got into the particulars of “why” her mother had such strong negatives opinion of a man she had never had any personal dealings with. An opinion, I assume, shaped 100% by media images and the fact she had a number of friends who WERE UNC fans.
I thought about it and figured that my Mother … 6-7 years older than her’s … would likely have HATED COACH K too for all the same “reasons”.
My Mother also hated roast beef, string beans, the color “brown”, and the song “Swing Low Sweet Chariots” for reasons I never understood.
I long ago accepted the fact that I’m kinda odd in relation to “most people”. Just using the million or so people in “The Triangle” I may be in the .0009% that really have no strong opinion of Coach K. I certainly do not HATE him.
Likewise, I do not worship him as some form of “sports deity” … as is the case with several other “coaches” in this area’s history. And, no, I don’t mean Matt Doherty or Herb Sendak.
I certainly respect his awesome achievements in his highly competitive profession. A profession in which Wins & Losses are posted for everyone to see.
Lawyers lose cases but with rare exception, few people know about it. Surgeons can’t save every patient, but their toe-taggers are not “film at 11”. Salesmen win and lose every day. I suppose computer programmers have successes and failures but who knows … or much cares.
I assume most of you know that Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Valvano arrived at Duke and NC State the same year 1980. Two years before Dean Smith won his first NC. Jim Valvano won his NC the following year, of course, Coach K subsequently won his five over the next 42 years.
The ACC has always been a coach-centric basketball conference. Great players come and go but the head coaches have been “the faces” of the programs in many cases.
Their personalities and eccentricities exaggerated to fill some vicarious void in sports fans and their sacred Hated Rivalries.
Whether it was Case – McGuire – McKinney … or Smith – Sloan – Driesell … or Smith – Valvano – Krzyzewski … There were others of course …. Ol’Roy – Holland – Bubas – Cremins – Williams – Bennett.
In terms of their lasting impact in the memories of “our generation” that threesome thru the 1980s has to be the most impactful.
I’ve always maintained that his tragic cancer aside, Jim Valvano was destined for the bright lights and big cities of The NBA. But his relatively short by comparison impactful story merits him being forever linked with the two Legends of Smith and Krzyzewski.
I don’t really have any K-anecdotes to add to the 1000s being posted this week. OK, unless you want to include my piece back in 2004 about Micki Krzyzewski running a whorehouse out of the tennis shop at Hope Valley CC.
The Franklin Street K-Haters ‘R Us Society was ranting and raging about some felonious misdeed that Coach K supposedly committed …maybe it was the Pete Gaudet Thingy … who knows, who cares.
I ran with the Micki’s Hope Valley CC Whorehouse bit just to prove those sicko lunatics on Franklin Street would believe ANYTHING bad about Coach K … and I was right.
I followed up on that with a “confirmed report” that everyone who was in the OR for Mike’s “back surgery” (???) had disappeared into WITSEC … and relocated to Ecuador. The loonies believe that too.
As I have observed the toxic K-HATRED that has been the lifeblood of so many sad souls in this area, I do wonder what will fill that void in their lives when he is no longer roaming the sidelines. When they won’t have Mike Krzyzewski to HATE any more?
Otherwise decent human beings … solid citizens … productive members of their communities … faithful spouses … dutiful parents who transform into pus-filled, acid-tongued zombie-like Hell beasts at the mere mention of his name.
I’ve always thought that was quite silly.
WHOA …. STOP … I almost forgot to tell you …. two weeks ago, I caught a 38 lbs Blue Catfish on The James River south of Richmond. I was fishing with Captain “Big John” Garland … a very cool fellow and awesome fishing guide.
My next adventure is mid-May … headed to Wisconsin for Pike, Walleye and, maybe, a Muskie. Can’t wait …
OK… That’s All Folks.