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You Tube Gold: Duke-Kansas 1991

Duke’s first championship and Roy Williams too.

Mike Krzyzewski
In 1991, Coach K and Duke won their first title. It wouldn’t be the last.

After Duke’s win over UNLV, the win over Kansas probably seemed a formality.

It wasn’t of course. We didn’t know then that Roy Williams would come to rival Dean Smith as a coach. He took over a KU program in disarray after Larry Brown left it crippled with NCAA sanctions and immediately started winning. This led soon to Dean Smith’s famous crack that he didn’t mind Roy running his system, just that Roy ran it better.

Not well enough to stop Duke though. The Jayhawks never went away but we never got the sense that they were going to storm back and beat Duke, either. Not when Duke had Christian Laettner, Grant Hill and Bobby Hurley.

This was also one of the last games where Duke was broadly seen as an admirable program: in 1992, Laettner would emerge as a divisive lightning rod and by the time Duke played Kentucky, a hated player for many.

So enjoy this last gasp of Duke as a giant killer and a program widely admired. Things would be very different in less than a year.