What goes into 903? A .763 win percentage, a 79-23 record in the NCAA tournament, 327 wins decided by 19 or more points, 4 NCAA National Championships, 11 Final Fours, 8 Championship games, and 1 Olympic Gold Medal as Head Coach of the USA National Team.
Throughout the years Coach K had dominant teams, some with enormous talent and others that needed every ounce of coaching he could muster up. It is hard for me to focus on just one game, or one national championship that was more impressive than the other. The 2010 Championship team stands out to most due to the classic game that Duke was a part of in the National Championship game, in which Krzyzewski prevailed. He was able to deny “fate” and the Cinderella story of Butler. Coach K could only watch the last second prayer that Butlers’ Gordon Hayward shot at the buzzer. As it happened though, an inch made all the difference, and Krzyzewski rightfully claimed his fourth NCAA championship.
The most impressive accomplishment of Coach K in my estimation was leading the USA to the Olympic Gold Medal in 2008. After the USA settled for bronze and lost three games in 2004, more games than they lost in total prior to the 2004 Olympics, it was time for a change. Someone who could motivate and unite a roster overflowing with overpaid egos and lead them to a victory for our country. We turned to Coach K to bring home the gold from Beijing. He led the USA to the top of Group B, and steamrolled through their elimination games and into the gold medal game. The USA beat Spain 118-107 in the gold medal game and Coach K restored USA as the dominant basketball nation. This accomplishment stands out simply because it is hard for me to believe that any other coach could have received the same results as Coach K did. It was clear that the mentality of our team had changed in the previous years, a new, lackadaisical approach to world play was becoming the norm for Team USA. A stark contrast to what the world had known the decade prior. With his Olympic dominance, Krzyzewski reestablished the prestige and pride of USA basketball.
Lets celebrate 903, but not forget the impressive gold that Coach K brought back home to America in 2008.