Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski recently turned down a lucrative offer to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. In doing so, he answered one question — while raising another.
After a period of highly publicized deliberation, Krzyzewski finally declined the Lakers’ offer and put an end to the “Will he?”-“Won’t he?” queries. In the end, he chose to stay where he had become — over the past 24 years — a wealthy legend and the personification of Duke basketball. The 57-year-old “Coach K” has led Duke to three national championships. He was a hardwood Steve Spurrier — only more successful and nicer.
He had also come to represent consummate class in an arena where too many schools routinely earn public scorn for win-at-all-cost practices.
In the final analysis, explained Krzyzewkski, “you had to follow your heart.”
That other question? Why a rich, college coaching icon with a lifetime contract — in a program that symbolizes all that is still good with big time intercollegiate athletics — would even consider moving on to the hip-hop circus that is the National Basketball Association? A league where Kobe Bryant, who personally intervened to try and recruit Krzyzewski, is one of the “good guys.”