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Durham City Council awards Coach K key to city, approves resolution to rename road ‘Coach K Highway’

Coach K has another accolade to add to his collection.

Durham Mayor Elaine O'Neal and the City Council awarded former head men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski a Key to the City of Durham on Monday. 

The council also unanimously approved a resolution to rename a three-mile stretch of N.C. Highway 751 that passes near Cameron Indoor Stadium “Coach K Highway.” Now the motion will move to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which has final say over the renaming.

O'Neal and council member Leonardo Williams delivered the proclamation.

“Coach K established Duke as one of college basketball's most dynamic programs, earned numerous awards and accolades during his 42-year career at Duke and is the winningest coach in Division One men's basketball history,” Williams read.

But Krzyzewski was not only recognized for his excellence on the basketball court. The former head coach was honored for his commitment to “public service and philanthropy” to the residents of the city of Durham, including the establishment of the Emily Krzyzewski Center for underrepresented students in Durham. 

Mayor O’Neal proclaimed that Dec. 19, 2022, should be honored as “Coach K Day” in Durham. 

Krzyzewski recognized the significance of having his family with him as he accepted the keys to the city. 

“It's an honor to get this, and I want to share it with my entire family,” he said.

The Krzyzewski family moved to Durham 42 years ago when he accepted the head coaching job at Duke, and they appear to have no intentions to move following Coach K’s retirement earlier this year.

“We knew about Duke, we did not know about Durham. And as much as we have fallen in love with Duke, we have definitely fallen in love and are still in love with Durham, North Carolina,” he said. 

Krzyzewski mentioned that he had been offered other opportunities to move over the years but “we could never find ourselves leaving a great university, but also a great town, a great city.”

“We're gonna stay here … I don't know where that key goes. But I'm gonna try some places. See if it works. I'm sure it does,” Krzyzewski joked.

As he accepted the key, Krzyzewski spoke about the ongoing relationship between Duke and Durham as the city develops. Duke President Vincent Price was also in attendance at the meeting.

“Part of Durham growing is the commitment that Duke and Durham have together. Two is better than one if two can work as one. And Duke and Durham have worked as one,” Krzyzewski said, speaking to the City Council. “Our president Vincent Price has taken the baton from presidents preceding him and really has done miraculous work in getting to know all of you, and you getting to know Duke, and as a result it's been one.”

Past recipients of a Key to the City of Durham include Aretha Franklin, Grant Hill, Andre Leon Talley and Mandy Cohen.


Kathryn Thomas | News Editor

Kathryn Thomas is a Trinity junior and news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

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