RALEIGH, N.C. -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has been offered the Los Angeles Lakers' head coaching job, ESPN's Jim Gray reported Thursday.
The sudden developments with Krzyzewski may have additional ramifications for the Lakers. ESPN's Jay Bilas reports that Lakers free agent guard Kobe Bryant has made it clear to the team that he wants Krzyzewski to be his next coach.
Earlier Thursday, The Associated Press reported that the Lakers were in "serious
discussions" with Krzyzewski about their coaching position.
Krzyzewski, a 57-year-old Hall of Famer, has led the Blue Devils
to three national championships in almost a quarter-century at the
"Coach K has informed us that the Los Angeles Lakers have
contacted him and entered into serious discussions to fill their
vacant head coaching position," Duke athletic director Joe Alleva
Lakers spokesman John Black said Kupchak met with Krzyzewski.
"They talked about our coaching vacancy," he said.
Black said the team hasn't made a decision, and was considering
several other candidates to replace Phil Jackson.
Alleva said he didn't know if the Krzyzewski and the Lakers were
close to a deal.
"I haven't been privy to their conversations," he said. "But
obviously, they are a great franchise."
Duke spokesman Jon Jackson said Krzyzewski was in Durham earlier
Thursday. The Lakers declined to say where the discussions were
An attempt to reach Krzyzewski by phone was unsuccessful.
By Thursday night, about 100 students and fans gathered at
"Krzyzewskiville" -- the grassy plot outside Cameron Indoor
Stadium where students camp out to attend Blue Devil basketball
games -- with signs and flags urging the coach to stay.
Duke president Richard Brodhead told The Associated Press he and
Alleva had dinner with Krzyzewski on Tuesday, after Brodhead became
aware that the coach had talked with the Lakers.
Brodhead said he didn't know if the Lakers offered Krzyzewski
"If he has the offer, he's going to have a big decision before
him," said Brodhead, who officially took office as Duke's
president Thursday, succeeding Nan Keohane.
Brodhead said he and Alleva urged Krzyzewski to finish his
career at the school.
"He means more to this place than the record of his victories,
impressive though that is," Brodhead said. "He's a real teacher.
He teaches character as well as basketball."
Krzyzewski has a 621-179 record in 24 seasons at Duke, leading
the Blue Devils to NCAA championships in 1991, 1992 and 2001. Under
Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils have 10 Final Four appearances, eight
Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships and 10
conference regular-season titles.
His Duke teams have been ranked No. 1 in 12 different seasons,
including each of the last seven years.
"If he decides that he's had a great ride at Duke, but
something else calls out to him now, we'd have to understand
that," Brodhead said. "In the meantime, you can be sure we'll do
all we can to persuade him that Duke and the college game are the
right place for him."
The mother of incoming freshman David McClure, said her son was
first informed of the news in a call from assistant coach Steve
Wojciechowski on Thursday.
Betty McClure said she spoke with Krzyzewski over the weekend
when the family brought the 6-foot-7 swingman to Durham for summer
classes, and the coach gave no indication of leaving.
"They said that every year he gets approached by some team or
another," she said from her home in Ridgefield, Conn. "And so,
how can you really expend a lot of energy being angry or anything
until you know what he's going to do?"
David McClure, reached Thursday night, said he had been told by
the coaching staff not to comment.
The Lakers announced June 18 -- three days after losing to the
Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals -- that Jackson wouldn't return as
coach next season. Jackson, who signed a five-year, $30 million
contract with the Lakers in June 1999, guided them to championships
in his first three seasons.
Former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich has been considered the
front-runner to succeed Jackson. He met with team owner Jerry Buss
and Kupchak last week.
Former Lakers coach Pat Riley, an executive with the Miami Heat,
also met with Buss and Kupchak, but issued a statement saying he
wasn't a candidate.
Among others mentioned have been Kurt Rambis and Jim Cleamons,
members of Jackson's staff. Kupchak said he planned to interview
more than one person and less than 10 for the job and hoped to have
a coach in place as soon as possible.
Last month, Detroit Pistons coach Larry Brown became the first
coach to win titles in both the NBA and NCAA. But Brown is the
exception to the general trend of college coaches struggling in the
Rick Pitino went from two straight appearances in the national
title game with Kentucky to the Boston Celtics, before quitting in
2001 and later returning to the college ranks with Louisville.
In 1992, Jerry Tarkanian, whose UNLV team won a national title
in 1990, lasted just 20 games before being fired by the San Antonio
Spurs with a 9-11 record.
More recently, former college coaches Lon Kruger, John Calipari,
Leonard Hamilton and Tim Floyd have struggled during short tenures
with the Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and New
Orleans Hornets, respectively.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.