Krzyzewski becomes winningest men’s basketball coach in NCAA history

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Mike Krzyzewski coached his 903 collegiate basketball win on Tuesday, November 15, passing legendary coach Bobby Knight for most wins ever as his Duke Blue Devils downed Michigian State, 74-69, at Madison Square Garden.

Krzyzewski got his start in college basketball in 1967, wearing an Army jersey and playing for Knight.

After graduating in 1969, Krzyzewski served as an officer in the U.S. Army for five years before kick starting his coaching career by joining Knight once again as a graduate assistant at Indiana University. After two years under Knight’s wing, the future Duke legend got his first coaching job at his alma mater. The Cadets put together a 73-59 record during his five seasons on their bench.

In 1980, the man who would later be known simply as Coach “K” was tabbed head coach of the Duke University Blue Devils men’s basketball team, setting off a successful marriage of coach and team that few have enjoyed.

In his 31 seasons at the helm, the Blue Devils have reached the NCAA Tournament 27 times, making the Final Four in 11 seasons. The Blue Devils have won the National Championship four times under the coach for which their basketball court is named. Krzyzewski has been named National Coach of the year eight times, while the Blue Devils have a won a dozen ACC regular championships and 13 ACC Tournament titles during his tenure.

Recognized for his efforts with induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, Coach “K” has continued to build his already impressive resume for 10 years, finally ascending to the top of the coaching wins mountain. When he reached the summit of NCAA wins, Knight was there waiting for him, both figuratively and physically. The coaches embraced following the game as the torch was passed from one of the game’s all-time greats to another.

The two legendary men showcased very different styles in getting there.

Knight, known for his chair tossing ability as well as his general ease in drawing a technical foul, was often quick to anger on the court, yelling when things didn’t go correctly.

Coach Krzyzewki, while stern, has constantly maintained a cool, calm and collected demeanor and rarely lets his emotions take over a game.

As different as their on-court styles may be, both coaches have enjoyed massive amounts of success, both on the hardwood and off. While many Division I programs have annual success in the standings, this duo has famously done it with higher than normal graduation rates.

Styles vary from person-to-person, and getting a master’s degree in coaching can give aspiring coaches an opportunity to develop one that works for them.

Learn more about earning your online Master of Coaching Education from Ohio University.