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It Was 41 Years Ago Today..

...Krzyzewski taught the Devils how to play

Mike Krzyzewski Reaches for Imaginary Notes, After Being Named Head Coach
Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski at his introductory press conference in 1980

We didn’t realize it but Thursday marked the 41st anniversary of Coach K’s introduction at Duke.

The Duke Chronicle headlined it this way: “KRZYZEWSKI: THIS IS NOT A TYPO.”

His first act, not surprisingly, was to spell his last name out for the assembled members of the media.

“First of all it’s K-R-Z-Y-Z-E-W-S-K-I,” he said with a wry smile.

People wouldn’t have to ask for long.

After a trying second and third season, Mike Krzyzewski was on the way to becoming an iconic figure in sports. He made Duke a powerhouse in the NCAA and, later, completely revitalized the US Olympic basketball team to the point where other teams once again just assumed they would lose.

Here’s something a lot of you would not have guessed. His first contract at Duke paid him $40,000.

There were ancillary opportunities of course. Coaches have always done camps and radio and TV shows and if you do well on the court you can give speeches. Coach K makes a very nice secondary income from speeches these days.

Anyway, when you watch the video you get an idea of what an extraordinary journey it has been for him, and for Duke and its fans as well.