Duke head coach and U.S. Military Academy graduate Mike Krzyzewski makes no secret that his time as a cadet and as a 20-something head coach of the Army basketball team molded him into a college basketball icon who has amassed more than 1,000 career wins. He even brought Team USA to West Point last year in the hopes that some of the academy’s lore would rub off.
But the early days of Coach K regularly take a back seat to his impressive accomplishments a few hundred miles south, where his Blue Devils will again enter the NCAA tournament later this week with a high seed and high expectations.
Amid the March hoops hype (and the ancillary bracket madness spawned by it), the folks at Bleacher Report produced the above video that focuses on the building blocks of Krzyzewski’s legacy. It includes interviews with the coach and former Army players, as well as some rarely seen footage of the Black Knights in action from the 1970s. Some highlights:
- Pat Harris, Army point guard under Krzyzewzski: “He could be playing the Sisters of the Poor and he’d want to beat them. And he would want to beat them bad.”
- Tom Valerio, Army forward: “He’ll challenge your manhood, and you better be prepared for that, but he challenges himself, also.”
- A look at Krzyzewski’s first win as a head coach, a 56-29 victory over Lehigh that showcased his team’s defensive focus: “People think of winning national championships and all that, those are great, and they are,” said the coach, “but winning that first college game, with a group of youngsters who had not won, that was pretty darn good.”
- Coach K, summing things up: “Those five years [at Army]are the foundation of what I’ve been able to accomplish with my groups here at Duke. I’ll always have all those kids in my heart for what they gave me.”
Watch the whole video above, get a few extra details here, and catch Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils (including future Army officer Marshall Plumlee) Friday night against a No. 16 seed to be determined.
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