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Krzyzewski and Dean Smith battled throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Coach K and his early days of ACC men's basketball

Today, with the vast majority of Krzyzewski’s career behind him, it’s easy to forget the beginnings that preceded the five-time national champion’s legacy. It’s easy to overlook the trials it took for him to become the winningest head coach in college basketball history—that first national title came more than 30 years ago, after all—but that wasn’t always the case.