i'm a duke fan. there... i said it so don't go expecting any hate in this post.
only the truly cynical can really hate coach k. first of all, he's loyal. he played ball at west point under mentor bobby knight, coached at west point then went to duke where he's stayed for over 30 years. and it's not like he hasn't had his opportunities to leave. he was courted by kobe and the lakers to replace phil jackson and i'm sure has had several other people inquire into his services.
second, he runs a clean program. after all the nonsense that has gone on over the years in college sports, duke has not only run a clean program, but has been the best program in college hoops since the mid-80s.
third, his players graduate and are "good" kids. now being a good kid isn't all about the coach obviously and i think that the term can be construed poorly. but, the fact of the matter is that elton brand is the first player i can recall off the top of my head that left school early. even jay williams, who left after his junior year, went back and got his degree.
fourth, he built a program, a culture and cultivated it. everyone makes their decisions and i am not going to fault the nick sabans of the world. but, coach k went to a school that lived in the shadow of unc and dean smith and built his program up in that shadow into the a dominant force.
fifth, he led the us national team to olympic gold. now, it can be said that this should be a given but the previous team was unable to accomplish this goal to the scorn of us basketball fans everywhere. the players loved playing for coach k and it reinvigorated his fire for coaching.
sixth, he's a winner. four national championships in three different decades. four decades with appearances in the finals. eleven final fours.
now, coach k passes his mentor and friend bobby knight into sole possession of first place on the all-time list of winningest coaches in div 1 college hoops. i'm not going to argue against all the duke-haters who like to call them upper crust racists or annoyingly arrogant or whatever else haters can come up with. the bottom line is that coach k has excelled and excelled with honor, class and dignity. there are few that can boast such a claim.
congrats coach k.. you deserve it!
*if you're an espn insider you can read jay bilas' (a fellow attorney and former duke player) reaction to coach k here: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/blog/_/name/bilas_jay/id/7235106/jay-bilas-reflecting-coach-k-record-climb