The News & Observer’s Andrew Carter has a piece up on the relationship between Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and the late Dean Smith who coached UNC for 19 years before Coach K came to Durham.
They had a complex relationship for a long time before they became close friends. This piece sort of traces that development.
There are a couple of points that we wanted to focus on here.
First, there is a bit in here from their first meeting, in the Big Four Tournament when Smith said this: “I’m worried about Duke. They’ve got a great young coach.”
It sounds a lot like Smith blowing smoke, doesn’t it? He would say stuff like that a lot: “Les Robinson is an outstanding coach who did a tremendous job in the Southern Conference...Bob Staack won 30 games in one season as a junior high coach so we’re certainly keeping an eye on him.”
But it wasn’t. And it wasn’t the only time he said something like that.
We’ve mentioned this a couple of times but during one game in the early years when UNC was just kicking the crap out of Duke, a UNC student manager approached Smith during the game and said something like that Krzyzewski guy isn’t much of a coach.
“You wait,” said Smith. “He’s going to be great.”
And years later, of course, Smith pushed hard to have Krzyzewski named the head coach for the US National Team.
Then there’s the story of Smith’s decline and the last meeting between the two. You’ll have to read it. It’s sweet and heartbreaking at the same time.
Anyway, it’s a really good read if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s a keeper.