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Despite Long List of Accomplishments, Coach K Marches On

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Despite Long List of Accomplishments, Coach K Marches OnWhen it comes to coaching basketball, is there anything that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski hasn’t done? Before you get all antsy, yes, I know win an NBA Championship is on that list.But take a look at the list of Coach K’s accomplishments and it’s hard to find a much more extensive list. Krzyzewski has coached Duke to four national championships and now has a gold medal and a world championship to his name in coaching theUnited States men’s basketball team.Yet he soldiers on. Why? For the wins? Not according to the coach who already eclipsed the 800 mark. In the following interview, he explains exactly why he’s still coaching.Mike Krzyzewski joined ESPN Radio with Mike and Mike to discuss whether it’s a challenge to continue to find motivation, what drives him at this point, if programs don’t have enough patience with coaches in college basketball, if he has the best team in the country and the concerns in talking so much about money as it relates to college athletics.

On whether it’s a challenge to find motivation at this point:

“No, not to find the motivation. Sometimes a little energy, emotional energy. You’ve got to be careful about that because you’re trying to compete at the highest level so you have to take care of yourself in that regard. But I love my team, so they give you energy. That’s a cool thing. When you’re on a really good team, guys give each other energy, but guys give their coaches energy and coaches give their guys energy. That’s what makes really good teams. … You don’t destroy one another, you build each other up.”

On what drives him at this point:

“I love doing it. It’s not any type of set goal. I’ve never done that, like number of wins in a season. I want to win a championship every year. That’s there, but also for me, just coaching really good players. If you’re a teacher, if you have a great student, they motivate you. I’ve got two of the best kids in the whole world who are seniors, in Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. And they’re warriors. And then I’ve got these young guys who are trying to learn from them and learn from us. You like being around the people you’re with. It makes it easy.”

On whether schools don’t have enough patience for college basketball coaches:

“I don’t think there is. People want instant gratification. … People did want me fired here at Duke. … [The president and the athletic director], they were really supportive and I never felt that pressure. As a result, I think it’s one of the reasons I’m still at Duke. They made an amazing commitment to me and it’s pretty easy to make a commitment back when someone supports you like that.”

On whether his Blue Devils are the best team in the country:

“No, I don’t think you can say that at this time. I think we’re really good, but it’s November 17 and there’s so much development. At this time last year, I didn’t know if we were good enough to win a national championship, but we developed into a team that could. We have two seniors, a junior and then we have seven freshmen and sophomores. We’ve got a lot of guys who are establishing their player egos right now, as to who they are. We have two guys who have it established in Kyle and Nolan. Last year we had five guys who had established player egos. In other words, every time they played, you pretty much knew that they were going to do a good job. … Some people call it roles. It’s deeper than a role. It’s an ego that a person has with that role. To me, that’s the most important thing in our game.”

On the concerns of talking about money so much in college sports:

“Well, I think you have to talk about it because somehow all the other sports have to be supported, too. Basketball and football make the money. When it becomes the only driving force, then you’ve got to be careful. And, sometimes it looks like you’re going to make a lot of money one way, but you lose a lot of money the other way. As these big conferences are formed, still I think the traditional rivalries that everyone can identify with are so important to our sport. … We have to be careful about protecting traditional rivalries as we look at all this expansion.”

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