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The first Krzyzewskiville

M ost towns can trace their beginnings to a brave journey, a conquest or a search for a better life.

The history of Krzyzewskiville can be traced back to a game of quarters, 15 crazy undergraduates and a rented tent from U-Haul.

"It was common for people to line up hours before a game," said Kimberly Reed, Trinity '86, who was one of the first tenters. "We were playing quarters one night at Mirecourt and joking about how early we were going to line up for the '86 [University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill] game. Finally, someone said, 'Why don't we just pitch a tent?' After a few rounds of quarters, it began to sound like a good idea."

Reed and about 15 of her friends, many of whom were members of the Air Force ROTC, rented a tent from U-Haul and set up camp in front of Cameron in March 1986.

"We were going to ask permission from Dean Sue, but then we just decided to ask forgiveness later," she said.

The adventurous fans set up four tents in front of Cameron on Thursday for the Saturday game against UNC, and word began to spread around campus. By Friday, other tents began to pop up.

"Someone took a cardboard box and wrote Krzyzewskiville on it," Reed said. And so the tent city was named.

Although men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski brought pizza to the tenters, who were hiding a pony keg in a tent, the experience was not all fun and games.

"Some Carolina people heard what we were doing and came over and dumped ice-cold water on our tents. It was freezing out and we were soaked!" Reed said.

The students were rewarded with glory though-not only did they get into the Carolina game, which Duke won 82-74, but when the NBC truck came by to set up for the game, they saw the tents and put them on the evening news. USA Today picked up the story, and the campers made the front page.

"By the time we got into the game, there were 75 tents up," Reed said. "Our tents weren't even in a real line, the four were just there as a group. Others lined up behind us, though, and the line went along the Cameron parking lot, toward Kilgo Quad."

Although Reed and her crew may have been the first hard-core "tenters," they were not the first to make headlines by sleeping out before a Duke basketball game.

January1984 was a big month for the Blue Devils basketball program. Associated Students of Duke University, the precursor to Duke Student Government, began monitoring the lines at the basketball games, and the Cameron Crazies were chastised nationwide for their actions inside the stadium.

At least three of those fans slept outside in sleeping bags before the Carolina game. "It looked like a row of mummies," the 1984 head line monitor then told The Chronicle. The Blue Devils almost beat top-ranked UNC that year, and Krzyzewski signed a five-year contract extension.

In 1985, four students made the front-page of The Chronicle for "risk[ing] life and limb Friday night camping out in line for the Duke-Washington basketball game."

By game time, hundreds of students had camped out for the nationally televised game, and more than a dozen tents were set up on the grass in front of Card Gym, many supplied with heat and electricity.

From a few sleeping bags in line, to a few tents, to Reed's mini tent-city, to the community that is Krzyzewskiville today, Krzyzewskiville has evolved over the years. "I think that Krzyzewskiville has certainly earned its place in the list of Duke traditions-it would surprise me if it disappears any time soon," said Sue Wasiolek, assistant vice president for student affairs.

Krzyzewskiville has become a complex community with rules and policy that are pages long. The "boss" of Krzyzewskiville, the head line monitor, even holds a cabinet-level position in Duke Student Government.

"Krzyzewskiville has gotten larger over the years, more policy oriented and somewhat more bureaucratic," Wasiolek said. "It has evolved into somewhat of a neighborhood, with issues and challenges that face any neighborhood, such as neighborhood relations, crime, sanitation and appearance."

Reed and her friends did not envision their tenting experience to lead to anything this large. "Our original intention was to get into the game, but the tenting was awesome," Reed said. "We just thought it would be easier to sleep out there-it didn't cross our minds that people would start doing this."

To Duke students, tenting has become a passion. DSG created a tenting policy that is updated yearly, and Krzyzewskiville is often featured in Nike advertisements and national news stories.

"In many ways, Krzyzewskiville embodies the positive spirit of college athletics," Wasiolek said. "Duke has been known for its commitment to basketball and Krzyzewskiville is very symbolic of that spirit and that passion."

Reed now works at UNC, but her loyalty has not changed since her nights in the tent.

"I hate them now more than ever," she said. "There is a great big sign in my office that says 'Go to Hell Carolina' and I have a piece of Cameron. My blood runs Duke blue."


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