Monday was a big day for Mike Krzyzewski and his family as Durham declared December 19th “Coach K Day.”
Obviously this was in honor of Mike Krzyzewski’s brilliant career as Duke’s head coach.
It’s hard to remember that while the Blue Devils had a spectacular decade under Vic Bubas, the glitter left in the early 1970’s and Duke was basically forgotten.
When Bill Foster revived the program and won the ACC Tournament in 1978, the Sports Illustrated feature started like this: “Duke. Now there’s a proud but forgotten name.”
Foster couldn’t handle the pressure of success though and left/fled for South Carolina. When Coach K took over, he had three nice players: Gene Banks, Kenny Dennard and Vince Taylor. Banks and Dennard only had one year under Coach K while Taylor had two, so in short order, he was starting over.
In other words, there were no guarantees that he would accomplish what he did and in fact, a lot of people had had enough of him by his third season.
He triumphed obviously and on Monday, Coach K said this: “We not only love Durham, we believe in Durham. We believe in Durham, North Carolina. And it’s obvious with the growth that is happening right now, we’re not the only ones. I encourage our leadership to really keep continuing to take the steps necessary to fulfill the needs that this growth requires.”
Durham also renamed part of Highway 751 as Coach K Highway, which means that for many, to get to Cameron you’ll have to go down that stretch of road. And that’s pretty cool for a guy who most schools might have fired.