Last Sunday, at Madison Square Garden, Coach Mike Krzyzewski became the first Division 1 men’s basketball coach to reach 1,000 wins.
18 years ago I remember watching my first Duke game and was mesmerized by Trajan Langdon’s (The Alaskan Assassin) shooting performance. Two things happened that night: I became a die-hard Duke fan, and 21 became my jersey number. I may have missed the first 22 years of Coach K’s coaching career, but have been lucky enough to see several extraordinary wins by Coach K and his Blue Devils.
Taking a look at this 1,000 win milestone, let’s break down the numbers a bit. Only 3 other coaches at a 4 year college or university have reached the 1,000 win mark, one a DI women’s Coach (Pat Summit). Coach K, in his 40th year as a head coach, has 1,000 wins. That means he’s averaging 26 wins a season for 40 seasons. Moreover, An average DI basketball season consists of 33 games, which means Coach K wins 26 out of 33 games a season; a win percentage of .790. Pretty impressive! There are currently 19 active players in the NBA who played for Coach K at Duke, more than any other college or university. He also has a “coaching tree” larger than any other active coach. 12 former players or assistants have gone on to head coaching jobs at DI schools or in the NBA. Now I know there are a lot of Duke haters out there, but it’s hard to argue with those stats, and we haven’t even started looking at tournament wins and other accomplishments. Like him or hate him, he will go down as one of the most talented coaches in basketball history at any level.
What’s even more mind boggling is that he doesn’t look a day older than when I started watching Duke 18 years ago! Hats off to you, Coach K!
Casey Tryon is an American living in Ireland. Currently, Casey is on a 2-year Fellowship programme with PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland, a non-profit org using basketball to bring kids together from different communities in Belfast. Since moving to the Emerald Isle, she has coached several teams; perhaps most notably, Casey was an assistant under one of Ireland’s Greatest ever female players, Breda Dick, with the former Women’s Superleague team, Ulster Rockets.