Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coach K – A College Coach Who Did Things the Right Way; and His Flawed Mentor Who is Partly Responsible

A Sharp Contrast to a Coach Currently in the News

[Editor’s note:  The Dismal Political Economist is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill]

Many of those who have viewed the human tragedy that is Penn State football have stated that the unacceptable behavior of its football coach with respect to cases of sexual assault is mitigated by the good that the coach has done (and also by his winning record).  Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke (hereafter known as Coach K in deference to Spell Checker) is living proof of the fallacy of that excuse for still revering Mr. Paterno.

If Duke wins its basketball game against Michigan State Coach K will become the winningest basketball coach in Division I NCAA history.  He will have achieved this goal by operating his life and his program in a manner of integrity that stands out within the sordid universe of college athletics.  He will also have done so because his was a protégé of Coach Bobby Knight. 

Since most of the world will not read the pages of the Raleigh News and Observer, here is some of their report on Coach K, his accomplishments and his relationship with Coach Knight. 

with a victory Tuesday over Michigan State in New York, Krzyzewski would reach 903 victories and pass Knight as the winningest Division I college basketball coach in history. It's an achievement built over 36-plus seasons. He coached five seasons at Army and is beginning his 32nd season at Duke.

It's a run that has produced four national championships, a record 79 NCAA victories, 13 ACC championships, 11 Final Four appearances and 15 seasons in which his Duke teams have been ranked No. 1. . . .

Now 64, Krzyzewski coached the U.S. Olympic team to the 2008 gold medal and his friendship and counsel is sought by prominent business leaders. He has written books on leadership, done national television commercials and was named by Time Magazine as America's best coach in any sport.

Coach K ‘s success is in part responsible from his association with another Coach K, Bobby Knight.  Coach Knight is the epitomy of the flawed individual, a dedicated teacher and coach, scrupulously honest and forthright, at times deeply concerned about others and also an egotistical mental and occassionally physical bully.  But Coach Knight has produced men like Coach K, and for that he can be forgiven a lot, not all and not completely, but a lot.

Coach K had a falling out with Coach Knight.  But it is part of the character that when Coach K was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame, he then called upon Coach Knight to introduce him.

On the night Krzyzewski was enshrined into the Hall of Fame, he was escorted on stage by his three daughters. Then Knight spoke. He talked of examples Krzyzewski had set as a player, a coach and a leader. He said Krzyzewski achieved success the right way. It was warm, sincere and a lifetime in the making.

Then Knight walked into the audience, offered his hand to Mickie Krzyzewski and brought her on stage with her husband and their daughters.

There are a lot of reasons to like Coach K, and he makes it easy to do so.  There are a lot of reasons not to like Coach Knight, but he makes it awfully hard to do so.  And as for Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, there are a lot of reasons to like him, but he has made it impossible to do so.

Two Great Coaches Who Would Never Fail to Follow Up
on Sexual Assault of Children

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