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Why We Believe In Returning Fire

We got e-mail from a guy who thought it was a waste of time to do the
"Returning Fire"
feature we're currently running, where we seek to
debunk several myths about Duke which are prevalent in the media and the
basketball world at large.

We respectfully disagree. We certainly
don't expect everyone to become Duke fans or anything, and we don't really
expect to change a lot of minds. But what we do hope to accomplish is to
force people who either peddle mistruths or are too lazy to do a little research
to correct the record. Take, for instance, Gerry Fraley of the, who said this:

"Illness forced LSU women's basketball coach Sue Gunter to leave her
team during the season. The NCAA said the Tigers' entire season, which included
a trip to the Final Four, would go on Gunter's record.

"That is a good decision. Gunter deserves credit for building a strong

"But why stop there? It's time for the record of Duke men's coach Mike
Krzyzewski to be updated.

"With Duke headed to a terrible record, Krzyzewski left the club during
the 1994-95 season to undergo back surgery. The Blue Devils went 4-15 under
fall-guy interim coach Pete Gaudet, a career assistant.

"Krzyzewski returned the following season and fired Gaudet. Duke also
petitioned to have the 19 games that Krzyzewski missed removed from his record
and permanently attached to Gaudet. The NCAA should give those games and losses
to Krzyzewski if for no other reason than to listen to him whine."

Apparently, Fraley hasn't read the NCAA Handbook! Duke could not petition to
have the 19 games removed, because they hadn't been played when they had to
figure out how to credit the rest of the season.

As we pointed out the other day, this is how
Rule reads:

Determination of Head Coach at an Institution

In order for a coach to be credited with wins, losses or ties, that individual must be designated as the institution’s head coach for the entire sports season. Individuals serving on an advisory or preseason basis may not be credited with the wins, losses or ties. If the head coach is not present at a contest due to illness or other unexpected circumstances, or otherwise is unable to complete the sports season, it is up to the institution to determine whether the win, loss or tie for that contest(s) shall be credited to the head coach or to an interim or assistant coach, as determined by the institution
prior to the contests (Emphasis ours).

As we also pointed out the other day, that particular team had two first-round draft picks in Cherokee Parks and
freshmanTrajan Langdon, a tough fifth-year senior in Erik Meek, a sophomore guard in Jeff Capel who had had a very solid Final Four appearance a few months earlier, and
two other highly regarded freshmen in Wojo and Ricky Price, and had beaten
Illinois, Michigan, and Georgia Tech, and lost to UConn by four. Not
exactly chopped liver.

If anyone would care to correct Mr. Fraley, here is his
E-mail. We'd be
interested to know if he posts a correction.