While Mike Krzyzewski is most known for his incredible success at Duke over the years, Coach K has proven to be much more than just the winningest coach all-time in Division I Men’s College Basketball. In 2006, he decided to expand his coaching to the United States Men’s Basketball Team and has helped the country capture back-to-back gold medals in the Olympics. Whenever there is a big-time job opening in the NBA, Coach K’s name always comes up and rightfully so. Krzyzewski can coach any level he puts his mind to but with the college basketball season set to tip off right around the corner, Coach K has his eye on just one thing, his fifth NCAA title.
Mike Krzyzewski joined 790 the Ticket in Miami with the Dan LeBatard Show to talk about how much the closeness with his family has contributed to him staying at Duke, on Shane Battier being criticized for flopping, what he is most proud of during his time coaching and what was the hardest time for him as a coach.
Whether the closeness with his family has contributed to him staying at Duke for so long and not leaving for the NBA:
“That and I really do love Duke and I love college basketball. I think if your family was spread out all over then somebody might be living in L.A. and somebody might be living in Denver and Dallas and Chicago. That is the criteria. How crazy is that? I would’ve been moving away from my daughters instead of my daughters moving away from us. That was part of the decision making process, there’s no doubt about that.”
On Shane Battier being criticized for flopping:
“There’s the flop and then there’s taking the charge. Shane Battier can take charges and I really kind of take offense to people who say he flops because I’ve seen him endure a lot of punishment. If you want to see flops you should spend your summers with me coaching international basketball. I will definitely show you some flops. Not just defensive flops but offensive flops. There are some of the best shooters in the world and when they’re running off of screens you would think that they were getting shot from somebody in the stands when something was happening. The international players have mastered that but I think Shane actually does take the charge.”
What accomplishment he is most proud of as a coach:
“I just think the caliber of guy that I have coached. We have 18 of them now in the NBA. I stand by all of them and the guys who have been here for four years that have graduated and just the quality of guy. When they came in here they were quality guys and when they left they were quality men. That’s the thing that I’m most proud of. I loved those relationships with those guys. I really have developed some of those too with the guys on the National Team. That’s one of the main things for me with coaching, it’s always been about the relationship you establish as a coach with your player and then what’s cool is when they grow up and get older they become good friends. I don’t know if a coach and player are ever really friends. When you’re coaching and playing, you’re his teacher but as they get older you become good friends and I’ve enjoyed that the most.”
When was the most difficult time for him as a head coach:
“Well starting was difficult because we were 38-47 but I think probably after we achieved success, it was in the mid 90’s when I got sick and I had to take a leave of absence and we had to kind of rebuild the program again. For a two year period we were 31-31 and not many people realize that about our program. I had to try to figure it out with the help of a number of people on how we were going to do it going forward. To me that was the toughest time.”
Listen to Mike Krzyzewski on 790 the Ticket in Miami here (Audio begins 2:02:05 into the podcast)