With his five grandchildren at his side, head coach Mike Krzyzewski was honored in a brief postgame ceremony for winning his 700th career game at Duke.
"No one can love coaching at this school more than I have loved coaching at this school," Krzyzewski said as he addressed the crowd while fighting back tears. "I'm a lucky guy to be coaching here."
In his 27th season with Duke, Krzyzewski has become synonymous with winning. And this season has been yet another example of how he has mastered his profession. Armed with Duke's youngest team in more than 60 years, Krzyzewski has adapted his style of coaching to connect more closely with his players.
"These guys have to continue to see me at their level, not the guy who is winning 700 games," Krzyzewski said. "These kids are not any different than Johnny Dawkins and [Mark] Alarie and those kids, but I am. So you cannot relate to where you are at, you have to relate to where they are at because they want to fight, they want to believe-you've got to be that coach for them."
As a result, he has often been more outwardly emotional with this group than with other teams he has coached.
That enthusiasm was on display again Sunday with less than 20 seconds left. The 60-year old-who was not wearing a sports jacket because he was feeling under the weather-ran down to the end of his bench and gave exuberant high-fives to each of his players.
"He rallies the troops," sophomore Dave McClure said. "He's our emotional leader, and we have to match his emotion every game. There will be times when we won't necessarily be as excited or have the emotion that we need on the court, and he's always there finding new ways to keep us motivated."
Krzyzewski said after the game that he feels great physically, despite his exhaustive schedule and commitments to USA Basketball, and that adrenaline and his passion for coaching continue to keep him sharp.
"Just to be a part of it and have the chance to play for him, it's the best and something that I wanted to do," Greg Paulus said.
Krzyzewski, who reached the 700-game milestone faster than any coach except Kentucky's Adolph Rupp, pleaded ignorance on the subject.
"I had no idea about 700," Krzyzewski said. "Are you kidding me? We're 6-6 in the conference, I just want to get to 7-6, so I was shocked at the end of the game when that happened."
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