Let the Games Begin

CraziesAll is right with the world — the college hoops season opens tonight.  In that spirit, I want to link an old post about Mike Krzyzewski’s first Duke win back in 1980. I was in the stands.

Duke Athletic Director Tom Butters insisted that he was getting the “brightest young coaching talent in America” to lead his basketball program (video from the hiring news conference here – notice how “Krzyzewski” is repeatedly mispronounced in the report) when he hired Coach K.  Wags had suggested that Bob Weltlich of Ole Miss or former Foster assistant Bob Wenzel were likely to get the job.  But Butters hired Coach K, then 33 years old and coming off a losing season at Army.   Butters had ultimately listened to Bob Knight, who told him that Krzyzewski had his own good attributes without the bad.  The headline in The Chronicle (Duke’s student newspaper) was “Krzyzewski: This is Not a Typo.”

I also wanted to highlight this video clip, which provides a bit of insight into being a student watching your classmates (and in the case of at least a small school like Duke — friends) compete on the biggest stage for a national championship. On her first day as a freshman at Wake Forest, my daughter had lunch with Chris Paul, then a sophomore. My son sat in classes at Cal knowing that many of the students sitting around him (and professors too) would be in the stands to see him play football on Saturdays. The relationships between college sports teams and their fellow students can be very special indeed.

When Kobe Bryant is asked if he ever regrets not playing college basketball, he replies, “Every March.” The journey toward March Madness begins tonight. Let the games begin.

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