Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1947, Mike Krzyzewski played basketball for famed coach Bobby Knight at West Point. After five years as head basketball coach at his alma mater, Krzyzewski moved to Duke University in 1980 and soon established one of the premier programs in college sports "Coach K" has since won five national titles and established the record for career wins, while also leading the U.S. men's national team to Olympic gold.
Early Life and Education
Michael William Krzyzewski was born on February 13, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois. Raised in a working-class neighborhood, Krzyzewski developed a reputation for his attention to organizing games among the local kids. He became a star basketball player at the all-boys' Archbishop Weber High School, where he caught the attention of United States Military Academy head coach Bobby Knight.
A three-year letterman at West Point, Krzyzewski led the team to a strong showing at the 1969 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) as a senior point guard. He then spent five years in the military, where he coached service teams and rose to the rank of captain.
College Basketball Coach
Mike Krzyzewski began his collegiate basketball coaching career in 1974, as an assistant to Bobby Knight at Indiana University, before he took over the head job at his alma mater in 1975. He compiled a 73-59 record over his five years at West Point, leading the team to a 20-win season in 1976-77 and an NIT appearance in 1978.
Krzyzewski made the move to a bigger stage by taking over the head coaching job at Duke University in 1980. His teams went 38-47 in his first three years, but in 1983-84 Duke won 24 games and was on the way to establishing itself as a collegiate powerhouse. Two years later, the Blue Devils set a record with 37 wins and advanced to the finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament, before suffering a close loss to the University of Louisville.
A return to the NCAA Championship Game in 1990 resulted in another loss, to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, but "Coach K" got his team over the hump the following year, engineering a Final Four upset of undefeated UNLV en route to his first national championship. Krzyzewski and Duke made it back-to-back titles in 1992 on the heels of another Final Four thriller, which culminated with the famed Grant Hill-to-Christian Laettner pass for the basket that beat the University of Kentucky.
Following a tough loss to the University of Arkansas for the 1994 national title, Krzyzewski lasted just 12 games into the 1994-95 season before undergoing back surgery. A bit of a rebuilding period followed, but Krzyzewski got his program back to an elite level by 1998-99, when the Blue Devils ripped off a team-record 32 consecutive wins and 37 overall before falling to the University of Connecticut in the NCAA Finals. The return to the summit was completed in 2001, when Duke defeated the University of Arizona to give Krzyzewski his third national championship.
His spot as one of college basketball's all-time great coaches already cemented, Krzyzewski burnished his legacy with national titles in 2010 and 2015. Along the way, he surpassed his old mentor, Bobby Knight, to claim an NCAA-record 904th career win, and in early 2015 he became the first men's basketball coach to achieve 1,000 career victories. He holds several other coaching records as well, including the most wins in conference and NCAA Tournament play.
U.S. National Coach and Other Honors
Mike Krzyzewski has been involved with the U.S. men's national basketball team on various levels since the 1980s, notably serving as assistant for the Olympic gold medal-winning squads of 1984 and 1992. Named head coach in 2005, he successfully jump-started a program that had disappointed despite the inclusion of professional stars, winning gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, as well as at the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships.
Along with his medals, Krzyzewski has been named the Naismith College Coach of the Year three times. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, shortly after the basketball court at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium was christened Coach K Court in his honor.
Mike Krzyzewski married wife Mickie the day he graduated from West Point in 1969. They have three daughters.
The celebrated coach has been involved in an array of charities and community services near his home in Durham, North Carolina. He helped found the non-profit Emily K Center, named after his mother, which provides educational opportunities for students. Additionally, he and Mickie have served as as co-chairs of the Duke Children's Miracle Network Telethon, and have partaken in campaigns against drug abuse and drunk driving.
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