K's Court

Cameron Indoor Stadium may still be "our house," but it is now officially Mike Krzyzewski's court. * Nearly 20 years after his first Duke squad helped him pick up win No. 1 with an 18-point victory over Stetson, the legendary Krzyzewski reached a milestone never before broached by a Blue Devils coach. Twenty-one seasons, scores of players, countless memories, one K-500 Ws. It is an astounding benchmark that more than doubles the 226 victories amassed by the second-winningest coach in Duke history, Eddie Cameron, the man for whom the hallowed building bears its name. * Now there will be two names forever associated with the home of Duke basketball. Coach K, the moniker adopted by the Polish coach during his days as a young up-and-comer with the Cadets, is no longer just a nickname. As of Friday night, it is the name by which the hardwood floor inside Cameron will be officially known for all time. Welcome to Cameron, welcome to Coach K Court. * "Having the court named in my honor, you could not honor me in a better way," said Krzyzewski, whose three daughters and wife Mickey sat together in a row on Cameron's floor. "I love Duke, I love Cameron and I love more than both of those the kids who have played for me. In honoring me in this way, you honor all those players." * Three of those former players-current assistant coaches Johnny Dawkins, Steve Wojciechowski and Chris Collins-paid tribute to their long-time mentor by unveiling the "Coach K Court" logo, which will soon have a permanent spot a few feet beyond halfcourt on the side opposite the Duke bench. * Krzyzewski, who was left in the dark about the postgame ceremony, appeared momentarily flustered for perhaps the only time in his illustrious career as he tried to grasp the right words to show his appreciation. As it has since his first day on the job-when a 33-year-old Krzyzewski jokingly chided the media for "not working hard enough" after speculation failed to even mention him as a possible candidate to replace former coach Bill Foster-the coach's quick wit bailed him out. * "I think it was smart that they used 'Coach K,'" Krzyzewski said. "If it were 'Krzyzewski,' they'd have to change the dimensions of the court-or they'd have to build a new place." * President Nan Keohane told Duke fans that their basketball arena now possesses a more worthy name than the floor of Virginia's University Hall, which honors the university's first president, Thomas Jefferson. Krzyzewski, in turn, singled out former athletic director Tom Butters, the man who bucked all odds by hiring Krzyzewski over top assistant Bob Wenzel and a couple other well-established names in the business. * "We just knew," Krzyzewski said of the mutual faith he and Butters shared back in 1980. * Even when a team Foster had on the brink of the Final Four in 1980 slipped to 38-47 and failed to make the NCAA tournament in each of Krzyzewski's first three seasons, Butters never questioned his hire. Students became restless, a few Iron Dukes petitioned to have him removed and his own players occasionally worried about their coach's job security, but firing Krzyzewski was never a consideration for Butters. * Friday, nearly two decades of hindsight and 500 celebrations enabled Krzyzewski to make light of the days when he wondered if he would ever achieve 100 wins at Duke. Showered with chants of "500 more, 500 more," the fabled coach also found a way to deflect responsibility for just how high that win total eventually reaches. * "The 500 was great and I am glad to share this milestone, but don't expect me to be here for 500 more," he told the hushed capacity crowd, which responded with a swirl of stricken groans. And that is when Krzyzewski issued a qualifier to his statement. "Unless they win every game," he said. * At least there is hope.


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