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Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Coach K's 1991 Blue Devils win championship
By Bob Carter
Special to

Signature Game
March 30, 1991 - A year ago, Duke was embarrassed by UNLV, 103-73, in the NCAA final. Tonight, in the Final Four in Indianapolis, the Blue Devils had their chance for redemption against Team Invincible, the unbeaten and top-ranked Running Rebels who had a 45-game winning streak.

"If it's close at the end, it will be new for them," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told his underdog team. "They haven't been there. You have. Keep it close, and the advantage is ours."

The Blue Devils kept it close, trailing 43-41 at halftime as center Christian Laettner worked well on the perimeter, scoring 20 of his 28 points. With 3:51 left, UNLV led 74-71 when point guard Greg Anthony lost a basket on a charging call and fouled out. The lead went to 76-71 before a three-point shot by Duke's Bobby Hurley and a three-point play by Thomas Hill tied the score at 77. Two foul shots by Laettner with 12 seconds remaining put Duke up 79-77.

On UNLV's last possession, Larry Johnson passed up an open shot and Anderson Hunt (29 points) hurried a 25-footer that missed badly. Duke had its upset.

Two nights later, Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils had their first national title after a 72-65 victory over Kansas.

Odds 'n' Ends

  • Growing up in Chicago, Krzyzewski excelled in basketball and baseball.

  • Krzyzewski didn't want a military career and struggled at West Point as he learned to be a cadet. "I learned how to grow from having my ego hurt," he said.

  • In 1969, just hours after graduation, he married Mickie Marsh at a West Point chapel. The couple now has three daughters.

  • Krzyzewski took over as Army's head coach for the 1975-76 season after the Cadets had gone 3-22 the previous campaign. Army went 11-14 in his first season and 20-8 in his second.

  • He got the Duke coaching job in 1980 with a strong recommendation from Bob Knight, his coach while with the Cadets.

  • On Nov. 29, 1980, Duke beat Stetson, 67-49, in Krzyzewski's first game as the Blue Devils coach.

  • In 1986, Coach K gained his first Final Four when Duke beat Navy and David Robinson, 71-50.

  • When Duke (34-2) beat Michigan for the 1992 national title it capped a wire-to-wire run as the No. 1-ranked team, the first team to do so since Indiana in 1976.

  • In 1992, Krzyzewski was an assistant to Chuck Daly on the U.S. Olympic "Dream Team" that featured Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and won gold in Barcelona. Duke's Christian Laettner was the lone college player on the squad.

  • Krzyzewski's wife, Mickie, was instrumental in getting him to leave the team to have back surgery in late 1994 and to eventually take a leave from his head coaching post that season.

  • Coach K's 500th win came on Feb. 28, 1998 when Duke rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second half and beat North Carolina at home, 77-75. The victory gave Duke the ACC title.

  • His 1998-99 team went 16-0 in the ACC (the only time Krzyzewski went unbeaten in the league) and finished 37-2, tying the 1985-86's squad NCAA record for most wins in a season.

  • However, it didn't win the NCAA title as it was upset by Connecticut, 77-74, in the final, ending a 32-game winning streak.

  • Four players from that team were selected in the first round of the 1999 NBA draft: Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette and William Avery. It was the first time a school had four first-round picks. Brand became the first overall No. 1 pick under Krzyzewski.

  • On March 11, 2001, Krzyzewski gained his 600th win when Duke crushed North Carolina, 79-53, for the ACC Tournament title.

  • Coach K decided to stay at Duke in July 2004, passing on the Los Angeles Lakers' head coaching job.

  • Entering the 2004-05 season, Krzyzewski had coached 35 NBA draft selections at Duke, including 18 first-rounders.

  • Krzyzewski and Knight are tied for third in NCAA titles (3), one behind Kentucky's Adolph Rupp. UCLA's John Wooden leads with 10.

  • Coach K has been active in community service, serving as chairman of the Duke Children's Miracle Network telethon and the Emily Krzyzewski Family Center in Durham, a community center named in honor of his mother.

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