Complete Coach K Press Conference Quotes


Posted Jul 6, 2004


President Broadhead, AD Alleva, and Coach K met the media on Monday

President Richard Brodhead

"So early in my appointment do I have the happy task of confirming the news that Mike Krzyzewski, the famous Coach K, will be staying on at Duke and hopefully finishing his career here. When I say that this is a great pleasure, you will note why: it partly has to with this man's records and achievements as a coach-all those games won, all those great seasons, but I must say that in the school's my own personal sense, that this is a man whose success as a coach has to do with far more than the strings of victories he's compiled."

To Coach Krzyzewski:

"In the view of this university, what has made you such a great, great coach at the college level is that you are a teacher as much as a coach and you are a coach in the way that makes that term continuous with the whole concept that college is all about. Anyone that watches you work knows that your work involves molding character, teaching virtues and building character, as much as does teaching the skills of the game. I've been here a great deal in the last six months, and I must say that I have learned even more, and every visit here I see that you embody so many of the kind of values that this school prides itself on. You are a person that has competed at the highest level year after year-that level of competition has always been associated with maintaining the highest level of integrity, dignity and many other virtues.

"At Duke, it is no figure of speech to say that Coach K is not just a coach, but a teacher. He has a faculty appointment here. How many basketball coaches in the country have a faculty appointment in a famous business school, such as he has in the Fuqua School of Business. This, again, is a tribute to your dignity-you teach serious things about leadership and motivation. That's part of what makes you so great. I also don't know how many basketball coaches hold the title Special Assistant to the President of the university, which was a role you played for my predecessor and I am keen for you to continue to play and am pleased you have agreed to continue this role. You are a person that brings great experience and knowledge to this university. I'll be relying on you in lots of ways.

"It's not surprising that a person on this level would be gone after by a range of people, most recently by the L.A. Lakers and I'm sure I don't even know a half or a tenth of what the last week has been like for you. At the end of the day, you have to decide what choice is best for you. You have one life to live and where is it going to be best lived and where are you going to give what's best in you to give. I had to face the fact that I might arrive here just in time for you to leave. If that's the choice that you decided you needed to make at this time, I would have had to respect that and urge this community to thank you for your good work here and prepare themselves for the post-Coach K years. I must say that I am enormously excited that, at the end of the day, that you decide that your place was in college basketball.

Athletics Director Joe Alleva

"Thank you all for being here today because this is a happy day. It's a happy day for Coach K and his family and it's a great day for Duke University and college basketball. I want to really take a minute to thank three people. I want to thank Coach K and Mickie [Krzyzewski] for the way that they have handled this situation. It's human nature in this world, when they had an opportunity of the magnitude that they had, for things to go through their mind. They handled this situation, this opportunity with class and dignity-the way they've handled everything at Duke for the last 24 years. It's a real tribute to Mike as a man and to Mickie as his spouse the way that they handled this situation. I really, really appreciate it.

"President Brodhead. The first day he was in his office, I had to go in there and tell him that Coach K was talking to the Lakers. His first day on the job. He handled this situation with great leadership and great vision. Let me assure you that, in the Duke world, that this university is in as good of hands as our basketball program is. With that, I'll turn this over to Coach."

Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

"First off, I would like to thank the Los Angeles Lakers and the professional way that they handled this entire process. They gave me an opportunity to look at an option that, at this point in my life, many people do not have. They did that with class, dignity and being forthright with Duke. Everything was out in the open. They are a great organization. Though there may be some problems right now, I found them to be very much a family organization. Dr,. Jerry Buss, the owner, is one of the great owners in the NBA and it is very much a family business. I was particularly impressed with their General Manager Mitch Kupchak. He was terrific and we've become great friends. Although I won't be working with him, I could certainly see myself doing that and being a great team together. I want to thank them for that opportunity.

"I also want to thank Duke for allowing me to investigate this opportunity. I think it is a sign of strength to allow their people to investigate opportunities and give them guidance and council while they are investigating. The timing of these things is sometimes amazing. I usually try to stay low-key when a new president comes in, but I know the first week has been dominated by this and I hope that I'll take more of a backseat and can now support [President Brodhead]. For President Brodhead to make his council available and spend time with me and my family throughout this process will be appreciated forever. The honor of being special assistant to President Brodhead was really one of the factors in coming back. We've always felt like we were a part of the whole university, not just of the athletic department.

"I'd like to quickly tell you how all this happened. Usually at the end of the season, I like to inventory of who you are, where you are and what you want to do. I try to do that every year and the first thing that I said was 'Do you still like to coach' and I knew the answer was not that I just like to coach, but that I have a passionate desire to coach and teach. As that was going on, the draft was going on and I talked to a lot of professional people during the draft. I talked to Mitch Kupchak and he started talking about this. It came at a time that I was taking inventory and I said 'At 57, maybe I should just take a look and this and sort of dismiss things from the last 10 years.' Take a look at it and, as it went on, I took a closer and closer look. As I look at this, and myself, I saw that I wanted to lead. You're heart has to be in whatever. It became apparent that this decision was somewhat easier to make because you have to follow your heart and lead with it and Duke has always taken up my whole heart.

"No matter how good another option sounds, leading Duke with my whole heart, could only happen at this place. I've been very fortunate in my adult life to be part of something bigger than me. Obviously I've been that with my family and my faith, but I've always had that with being a part of the United States Military Academy, with Duke and with college basketball. Those three entities are bigger than any individual, or any group of individuals, as far as being part of something bigger than me. As I've gone forward, I like to think I've brought some honor to those entities, but I know they've done far more for me than I have for them. As I go forward, I want to continue to try and honor this great university and this great game of college basketball. That's how it all happened and I'm pleased it's all over and am looking to moving forward."

On considerations before making decision:

"Over the years, there's been interest by a number of people, but I think the timing, and the fact that it's the Lakers, as one of the best franchises in not just basketball, but in all of sport. I've known about Mitch, but I really knew about Dr. Buss, as one of the most respected owners in the NBA. That whole thing kind of came together."

On who was notified of the decision first:

"My family. We decided to stay. Then, I called Mitch Kupchak. I figured the person that I was not going with needed to be told first. I called President Brodhead next. Two of my players are here at summer school-I had my whole inner-circle, my whole family, with me. I'd like to thank my family, not just my wife Mickie and my daughters, but my Duke basketball family, especially my players and their families for trusting me throughout this process. When this became public, we called all of them and told them just to trust us and stick with us and they did. Hopefully that makes us an even closer group."

On when the decision was made:

"Last night. Late last night... it was an early morning for Mitch Kupchak with the three-hour time difference."

On any possible problems at Duke:

"The decision has always been to stay at Duke, so it would have to be something changing what I already believe in. It's not so much making the decision, but stopping the process so that the decision that you always agreed to wasn't going to change. I've always wanted to be the Duke coach, but the lure of this very prestigious position was placed against that love."

On advice received during decision-making process:

"The person that knows me the best is Mickie and my reactions to things along the way were helped by her telling me that 'I think you feel this way,' or 'Are you feeling this?' that type of thing. That's the kind of counsel that I need and that I listen to. For 35 years of my life, we've been a good team.

"Although it may have been a busy week for President Brodhead, it's been an opportunistic one for me because of the discussions we've had, his counsel through all this and his strength and time. I'm anxious to get past all this so we can get back to talking about Duke and put basketball in the proper perspective at our university."

On fitting in, in Los Angeles:

"I hope that I'm the kind of guy that could adapt to any place that I am. I don't want to be just a one-place kind of guy."

On possibility of working with Kobe Bryant:

"Kobe and I got very close during recruiting. The Lakers are a big organization. This obviously was not a Kobe-led movement. I was considering the Lakers whether Kobe was a part of them or not. You have to consider a number of factors. It would have been an honor to coach him or Shaquille as two of the greatest players in the history of the game. Overall, you make your move based on an organization, not on one individual."

On reaction to coverage:

"It must be a slow weak in sports or something. I'm astonished and a little bit uneasy. I'm sick of watching me. We wanted to end this as soon as possible."

On the state of college basketball and its challenges:

"One of the reasons I coach is because of the challenges. I want to meet the challenges and get a group of people to be successful in facing those challenges. That's what leaders do and that's how you feel good. It's not just about winning; it's about getting a group of people to meet those things.

"As far as college basketball is concerned, we're in the process of looking at it. I think by going through it, I've developed even more empathy for both sides. I really think that college basketball needs to promote its intangibles more. I didn't make this decision because of tangibles; I made it because of intangibles. For me, the intangibles are what they always have been... I think most people value the intangibles and, if that's true, we need to better develop the intangibles of our college basketball brand. I really would like to be a part of that as we move forward because college basketball has been so good to me."

On offer of 'tangibles' by Duke:

"The allure of coaching in college has no price. It's one of those priceless things. I've never made a decision based on what was going to make me the most money. It was what was going to give me the most happiness and I've been really happy and fulfilled at Duke."


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