College basketball fans received some great news last week when coach Mike Krzyzewski signed a lifetime contract with Duke. It was great not only for the Cameron Crazies and people associated with Duke's program but also for the sport of college basketball.
It's super because, for college coaches, there's always the lure of the mega-dollars paid to NBA coaches. Think about George Karl's $7 million deal or the big contracts given to Phil Jackson and Pat Riley. The money is out there for the right guys.
|Coach K and Duke have cut down their share of nets.|
This new deal with Duke will eliminate any chatter and questions of whether Coach K would consider leaving for the pros. It's great that the Hall of Famer is locked in forever, where he fits in perfectly.
I've gotten to know Coach K over the years, not only because I'm a broadcaster who covers the team but also through his involvement with the Board of Governors of the Jimmy V Foundation and as the co-chair of the Jimmy V Classic (with ESPN's John Saunders). I have watched this man away from the basketball arena, and let me tell you, Krzyzewski is one special human being. We're talking about a humanitarian.
He's a guy who goes beyond the realm of teaching skills for the game of basketball. He's about people and about winning in life!
We know about the nine Final Fours, the five straight ACC titles and three national championships. We know about the development of All-Americans and great players who go on to the NBA. But when you look at Coach K, he's about more than just the Ws.
Speak to any of his former players, and they will tell you volumes of his lessons of life. I'm happy that Coach K will remain on Duke's campus for many years.
It was fitting that on the day he announced the lifetime deal, it was also signing day. Duke got the best class the school has ever signed based on preseason hype. Now it will be up to the group to live up to the standards of the reputation.
This lifetime deal with Duke will eliminate any questions of whether Coach K would consider leaving for the NBA.
Remember, it isn't easy living up to the Duke legacy -- guys like Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Shane Battier and Bobby Hurley. They all got to cut down the nets.
I've spent lots of time with ESPN's Jay Bilas, a former Blue Devils player, and it's interesting to hear about Coach K's personal beliefs and how they have affected so many players who have moved on to other areas of life.
Coach K is a bona-fide, big-time winner and a Hall of Famer. He is a genuine superstar and it is awesome, baby, with a capital A to see him staying in college basketball.
Seton Hall gets early test vs. No. 1 Duke
What a way to start the season for Seton Hall!
You have to feel for new Pirates coach Louis Orr, whose team is thousands of miles away from its New Jersey campus at the EA Sports Maui Invitational in Hawaii -- going against No. 1 Duke (Monday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Opening on the road is never easy. Seton Hall started the season at San Francisco -- an 87-79 win on Friday -- and now the Pirates must play the defending national champion Blue Devils in the opening round at Maui. Seton Hall presents a solid perimeter game that will challenge the Dukies. The question is, do the Pirates have enough inside to offset Duke center Carlos Boozer and company?
By the way, if former Hall coach Tommy Amaker had remained with the Pirates, this game would have featured a student vs. teacher coaching matchup.
Instead, the Amaker vs. Mike Krzyzewski meeting (Amaker was once Coach K's assistant at Duke) will come when Amaker's new team, Michigan, hosts Duke on Dec. 8. Last year, there was a pupil vs. mentor meeting when Krzyzewski faced Quin Snyder in the Duke-Missouri NCAA Tournament game.