When Mike Krzyzewski heard he was going to be inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame, he was not sure how to react.
Earlier in the year, and apparently unbeknownst to Krzyzewski, the athletics department had granted current Blue Devils ballot eligibility.
“When I heard that I was in, I was wondering if [athletic director] Kevin White was trying to get me out of here,’’ Krzyzewski said. “It’s kind of neat to do it while you’re still coaching because you get to bring all the guys in, and it’s a little bit of a renewal or revival.’’
Point guard Bobby Hurley, quarterback Ben Bennett, golfer Jenny Chuasiriporn and tennis player Vanessa Webb were also inducted Friday night.
“The four people I’m going in with are arguably as good as any player in their sport here, ever,” Krzyzewski said. “It’s always better for a player because it’s about what he or she did. For a coach, you’re kind of riding the coattails of a lot of people, which is fine. I’ve had some really good guys who have had some nice coattails.”
Krzyzewski sits just two wins short of Bob Knight’s NCAA Div. I men’s coaching wins record of 902. He has led the Blue Devils to four national championships, 11 Final Four appearances and thirteen ACC titles in his 31 years at the helm.
Hurley led the Blue Devils during the program’s first two national championship runs. The point guard hit what Krzyzewski calls “the biggest shot I’ve seen a Duke basketball player make” against UNLV in 1991, when he made a three-pointer with less than two minutes remaining in the national semifinals to cut the Runnin’ Rebels’ lead to two in a game the Blue Devils would go on to win.
“I coached Bobby like I wanted to be him,” Krzyzewski said. “I gave him the freedom he deserved, and I loved watching him. We didn’t call many plays when he played here. He was instinctively terrific.”
Duke football has never seen a better quarterback than Bennett. By the time the California native graduated, he had set NCAA Div. I records for most career pass attempts, passes completed and passing yards. He earned both ACC Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors in his freshman and junior seasons, respectively.
Chuasiriporn and Webb, roommates during their time at Duke, helped establish the golf and tennis programs, respectively. The former, who grew up living on top of a restaurant in Baltimore as the daughter of Thai immigrants, led the Blue Devils to their first-ever NCAA title in 1999. She was also the No. 2-ranked player in the nation as a junior, when she won four tournaments and led the nation in scoring average.
Webb was the ITA Player of the Year in 1998 and 1999, her final two years at Duke. She still holds the all-time program records in wins and win percentage, 161 and .866, respectively. The Blue Devils advanced to the NCAA team championship in 1998, the same year Webb won the national title in singles.
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