Excuse today’s post for its length. The subject is Mike Krzyzewski, and the coverage here needs to parallel that published today in The News & Observer, and probably several other “homer” publications.
There is a friend of mine who has known Mike Krzyzewski, (a.k.a., Coach K because it’s easier to pronounce and spell, especially for the Dook fans who have Yankee backgrounds and accents) for so long that he can tell you the many meanings of the F-word Coach K starts spouting in times of trouble and not. That F-word, for Coach K more than anyone else, has been a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, a preposition, a conjunction, a pronoun, and , of course, an interjection, to name the obvious. According to my friend, Coach K has used it outside those basic parts of speech. He directs it at players, fans, game officials, the news media (usually in private) and probably his family as a term of endearment.
It is estimated that, during just the 1,000 wins he has accumulated during his coaching career, Coach K has used the F-word at least 25,000 times, an obvious average of 25 times a game including pre-game, during the game, halftime, and post-game. If you count his 308 loses when it is estimated he used the F-word double the number of times in a win, add another 15,400 times for more than 40,000 F-words, and that’s just during the games. My friend tells me Coach K uses that word as a regular part of his vocabulary, in the office, at home, during business meetings, with friends and enemies. So, let’s add another 150,000 times based on his 40 years of coaching, adding in more than 10 times a day for 365 days a year. This means, with all accounts, Coach K is approaching 200,000 F-words in his coaching career. The question is: Will the media cover that milestone just as it covered his 1,000 career wins? Maybe not because the media probably thinks Coach K’s mentor, Bobby Knight, holds that record at double the number of F-words. Of course, Knight may not know the parts of speech the way Coach K does and probably limited its use to a verb and adjective.
Actually, there is no ill-will here for Duke basketball Coach K. Thankfully the Duke Blue Devils—“playing like Duke and not like Dook”—rallied from down 10 Sunday to beat St. John’s and give Coach K his 1,000th coaching victory. Hopefully the hype from the local sports media will subside but that’s doubtful. The coverage has been overkill for someone who has coached 40 years and averaging 25 wins a season, no doubt a great accomplishment. But, it’s expected, the media hype that is. Coach K has had the media in his (bad) hip pocket for years, except during and after one game last year when Coach K was hit with a technical foul against Virginia and no one in the media came to his defense. Coach K then took the media to task and the minions have fallen in line ever since, especially the local beat reporter. Today’s N&O is a great example with countless stories proclaiming Coach K as the exalted ruler of winning basketball games, which, of course, he is, but the coverage was excessive, set up to do nothing but stay on Coach K’s good side until he retires. The coverage will not sell any more newspapers. It was difficult to read—yes, NC State graduates can read—the newspaper this morning without getting all that crap on my hands, and we had to disinfect the kitchen island, the regular resting place of the print edition each morning. The coverage did serve as a successful laxative for my morning constitutional, and that was without reading the Coach K Coverage!
Coach K’s 1,000th win means two things: He has coached a long time (40 years), and he, in addition to defeating lots of conference teams, has defeated a lot of patsies. That’s the norm of college basketball and football scheduling. Yes, his Dook teams have finished at or near the top of the ACC many times, but he has also chalked up wins over many of those Sisters-of-the-Poor (or maybe the Sisters-of-the-Pour) along the way. Again, that’s college basketball in a nutshell; play your conference opponents and the fill the schedule with six to eight UNC-Greensboros or Elons. And, to his credit, he’s won a lot of NCA playoff games.
Also, to his credit, here’s a note worth mentioning: It took Duke 68 years to rack up 1,000 total wins, doing that on Wednesday, February 13, 1974 in a home win over Virginia, 88-78. Since then, in the last 41 seasons, the Blue Devils have increased that total to 2,041 wins, most of which were by Krzyzewski coached teams. No doubt he’s one of the best to ever coach the game. If he could refrain from using the F-word so much, the honor would carry much more significance, but that would mean even more flacking by the media, something none of us desire.
If Duke had not played like Duke—if they had played like Dook—in those waning minutes Sunday in Madison Square Garden, the 1,000th Win Watch might have gone on for a couple of weeks more with games at Notre Dame and Virginia ahead before a home game against Georgia Tech. Hopefully, after today, Krzyzewski’s public relation firms—The News & Observer sports staff—will get back to writing meaningful stuff. All in all, congratulations to Coach F..uh..K.
Dictionary.com word of the day
subrogate (verb) [suhb-ruh-geyt]: to put into the place of another; to substitute