What happened Tuesday night in New York City was inevitable. Many outside of Durham did not want it to happen. But we all knew for several years now that Mike Krzyzewski would pass Bob Knight to become the winningest coach in the history of NCAA Division I Men's Basketball. And Coach K's spot on top of the college basketball world has officially been locked in.
It's possible that if today's win now or you're fired mentality existed 30 years ago when Coach K took over Duke, he may not have accomplished this feat there. Krzyzewski was 38-47 in his first three years at Duke. Of course, there was something called patience back then, and it paid off, as Duke has made the NCAA Tournament every year he has coached a full season since (this excludes the 1994-95 season, when he only coached 12 games).
The 903rd win of Krzyzewski's career solidified his spot as the greatest coach ever in my opinion. It's not just the fact that Duke has won four national championships. It's more about the coaching record of Coach K. Overall, Duke has won nearly 79% of their games under Coach K. And if you don't count those first three seasons, the win percentage goes up to 82%. In the NCAA Tournament, Coach K is 79-23, a win percentage of 77%. Duke has gone to 11 Final Fours as well. And I haven't gotten to how dominant Duke has been in ACC play. Duke has won 70% of their conference games in that time, including 12 ACC regular season titles, and 13 ACC Tournament titles. This is dominance to a tee.
I know for a lot of people, it's difficult to grasp just how great Duke has been under Coach K. Sure, you're more than welcome to complain about how Duke gets all of the calls, and how Coach K is in the refs' pockets, but wouldn't you like your school to be in that situation if your school was as dominant as Duke has been over the past three decades? Don't say no, because you're lying. Whether you like it or not, Coach K has earned that respect from the refs for the amount of winning he's done over the years.
I'm sure there are people who like to criticize Coach because the people that go to the NBA out of Duke don't really turn out to be superstars. But at the same time, the ones that do get drafted have had a good record of having long NBA careers as role players. Shane Battier, Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon, Grant Hill, and Corey Maggette are just some of the players who have enjoyed nice careers in the pros.
The next milestone for Coach K is the all time record for most wins, which is currently held by Don Meyer, who coached from 1968-2010 between the NCAA and NAIA. That record will fall either later this season or early next season. But it will be another feather in the cap of the person I think is the greatest coach to ever put on a suit and yell at people on the court.