Coach K makes transition from Olympics to Duke
Posted October 23, 2008
Updated October 24, 2008
When Stanford athletics director Bob Bowlsby asked Mike Krzyzewski permission to interview Johnny Dawkins for its head basketball coaching vacancy, Krzyzewski's response answered questions about his own future at Duke.
"I said, 'Well, I'll say this. If I wasn't coaching here, I'd want Johnny Dawkins to coach here,'" remembers Krzyzewski. Bowlsby then asked how Krzyzewski how long he planned to coach at Duke. The hall of fame coach replied, "I think I'm going to coach for a little bit."
Krzyzewski says his experience coaching Team USA to the Olympic gold medal in men's basketball did not drain his energy and focus for Duke. He believes it gave him even more energy.
"I'm not going to forget about the Olympics. That's crazy," he said. "But I'm not going to think about it everyday. I'm going to think about what our team [at Duke] might be able to achieve and use that experience to maybe help us."
The key word is 'experience.' That is something Krzyzewski's Blue Devil players finally have.
"Two years ago, it was like starting over because we only had one junior and no seniors," he said. "Now, we have juniors and seniors. They know what I want. Even though we're doing a few new things, they know the old things quicker."
That allows Krzyzewski to avoid coming into this season with unanswered questions. Now, he is simply fine tuning and finding players around whom he will build the team.
"Right now, we're looking at Gerald Henderson, John Scheyer and Kyle Singler and how do we complement them?" he said.
Krzyzewski admits his team a year ago tightened up in tournament time. After a 22-1 record to start the season, the Blue Devils bowed out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after losing to West Virginia. The coach believes his team was playing not to lose. His goal this year is to fix that mindset in his players.
"Our culture is back," he said. "That makes it a lot easier for me to coach."