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"She's kind of the jokester, and it's us who'll say, 'Hey, it's time to get serious,' " DeMoss says. "That's a complete role reversal. It's a day-to-day thing with us, where we learn as we go. At the top of our list is to make sure she's O.K. that day."
It's a tradition after Lady Vols home games for Summitt to sit for a postmortem with Dearstone, the play-by-play man. Hundreds of fans stay as listeners phone in questions. "Our postgame used to be a comedy skit," Dearstone says. "She could take it and she could give it. It can't be like that anymore."
They still meet, only now with DeMoss to help out. And the exchanges are no longer spontaneous but filtered via Facebook, like the one from a fan named Donna after the Lady Vols' 92--76 defeat of Miami on Nov. 15: "What do you like most about being a head coach?"
"I can tell you," she replied. "I've been here for a long time, and I love being a head coach, and I can't do this alone."
A few photos in Krzyzewski's office don't grace the walls but enjoy pride of place on his desk: shots of his wife, Mickie, and their daughters, Debbie, Lindy and Jamie, who with him round out what the family calls the Starting Five.
When he met Mickie, then a flight attendant with a Virginia lilt, Mike was a sisterless product of all-boys parochial schools and all-male West Point. Soon he was coming home, as she puts it, to "a lot of lace and pink and ruffles." Krzyzewski chose to let all that girl stuff have its way with him, and it has touched everyone to come through his program. Hill understands the message in that choice: "It said, 'Hey, as important as you guys are, and as important as my career is, my family is just as important.' Those are good things for young, impressionable men to see."
Mickie has earned a de facto master's in late-adolescent counseling from all the men-in-progress to come through Durham. Lindy serves as a formal counselor to the team, honoring a barrier that keeps her parents in the dark about what she's working through with whom. Debbie serves the basketball program in external relations. And Jamie, once known as Mo Minutes for the additional playing time Blue Devils jokingly believed they'd get for being nice to her, now collaborates with her dad on books about basketball and leadership, while her husband, Iraq war veteran Chris Spatola, serves as Duke's director of basketball operations. "When we were younger my mom would make a pot of chili and the coaching staff would come over and watch tape on the same TV in the family room where we'd watch Saturday-morning cartoons," Jamie says. "Before bed we'd say, Goodnight Tommy [Amaker, an assistant coach] and Goodnight Mike [Brey, another assistant]. We never felt that basketball was taking him away from us. This wasn't his thing. It was our thing."
In the middle of the 1994--95 season Krzyzewski landed in the hospital, wracked by exhaustion and back pain. He turned the team over to assistant Pete Gaudet and, in a despair unique to an academy-trained leader who has left his troops, watched the Blue Devils win just four of their final 19 games. "I'm in a bed and don't know what the hell's wrong with me, but I have no feeling and I'm hurt and sick," he says. "I needed to do things differently. We had gone to seven Final Fours in nine years, which is extreme. There's no class you can take for handling success and celebrity."
The experience forced Krzyzewski to consider Duke basketball without him. He vowed to start a foundation, which has since funded a practice facility and endowed a dozen player scholarships, two coaching positions and a manager's scholarship. "When I was in that hospital bed, none of that was in place," he says. "We had been winning, but that was it. Looking back, I don't know if I'd be coaching today, or coaching here, if that '94--95 thing hadn't happened. When I took a look at me, I didn't like some of the things I saw. I micromanaged too much. I got away from maybe looking at the pictures on my desk."