Basketball's busiest man
Coach K has been balancing Team USA, Duke duties
Posted: Thursday September 27, 2007 11:24AM; Updated: Thursday September 27, 2007 11:39AM
Mike Krzyzewski was en route to visit a recruit Tuesday afternoon when a communications outage at the Memphis airport forced his plane, along with dozens of others, to make an impromptu landing. So it was that Coach K found himself at an airport in Chattanooga, Tenn., with some unexpected spare time on his hands to return phone calls.
"I have a lot of catching up to do," Krzyzewski said. "Our pilot has flown for years, and he said something like this has never happened."
Spare time and emergency landings are rare occurrences these days for the busiest man in basketball. When Coach K returned from Las Vegas on Sept. 3, after leading the U.S. to a first-place finish in the FIBA Americas Championship, he literally hit the ground running. Duke's first semester had already been in session for a week, so on the day he returned, Krzyzewski conducted some individual workouts for his players. The next day, he gave a speech at a kickoff luncheon for the brain tumor clinic at Duke hospital. The day after that, he attended a major athletic department meeting. When the weekend came, he hosted a recruit on campus and spent three days traveling to visit other prospects. Last week, he flew to West Point to give a speech as part of a leadership series he has put together for his alma mater.
That kind of whirlwind schedule would wear down most men, especially one who celebrated his 60th birthday this year. Yet, says Krzyzewski, "I'm not tired. If anything, I feel energized. I feel really good about where I'm at professionally, you know what I mean?"
Krzyzewski's ability to maintain his energy is partly a credit to his daily workout routine, which includes cardio work and even some weightlifting. But it doesn't hurt that his team of NBA stars performed so well in Las Vegas, where the Americans not only blitzed opponents by 39.5 points per game, but also evinced a cohesive attitude that has been sorely lacking from U.S. teams in the past (including the one Krzyzewski coached to a third-place finish at the World Championships last year).
It was his team's attitude, more than victory margins, Coach K found inspiring. "There was never one second where I had a problem with a player," he said. "We have a team now. We don't have a group of individuals or an all-star squad. These guys like one another and they love representing their country. We have a great shot at winning the gold [at the Olympics]."