Bad news and good news for former Duke coach Bucky Waters: last week he had to have surgery for his aortic valve. It’s been replaced and he clearly feels good, telling the Raleigh News & Observer that “I’m a grateful 84. And frisky! I told them if I get off the redshirt list and back in action, I’ll make commercials for them.”
Waters has been around Duke basketball since the 1960s, other than a four-year stretch at West Virginia. He became very unpopular with the student body in the early ‘70s as he was perceived as too militant at the end of the Vietnam era. Waters resigned under pressure in 1973.
It was unimaginable in 1973 that Duke would, seven years later, hire a West Point grad named Mike Krzyzewski who would apply lessons he learned there to take Duke to unimagined heights.
Despite being unpopular at the end of his tenure, Waters stayed at Duke and over time won people over. He’s certainly been loyal to the university and served Duke in many capacities before his retirement.
He walks slower now and was using a cane the last time we saw him but he’s still coming to games and he’s still sharp. We’re glad he’ll be with us still.