All eyes on Duke's Coach K ahead of final season as head coach

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
All eyes on Duke's Coach K ahead of final season as head coach
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The 2021 ACC Media Tip Off event got underway in Charlotte, and all the talk was about Mike Krzyzewski's final season at Duke.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Marriott Charlotte City Center is playing host to the 2021 ACC Media Tip Off. The event, which takes place Tuesday and Wednesday, highlights basketball players and coaches from the ACC's member schools as they look ahead to the upcoming season.

Tuesday featured men's basketball and Wednesday will be reserved for the women.

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips started the morning by focusing on the accomplishments of former UNC men's basketball head coach, Roy Williams, who retired April 1, and outgoing Duke men's basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski.

"Coach K, I'm thrilled there will be one more go around for him," said Phillips. "I don't think I can put into words what this loss is going to be."

And on Williams' accomplishments, Phillips added, "Nobody won 900 games quicker than Coach Williams did. We all heard the testimonies of what he did to his former players ... he's meant so much to them."

"You all keep reminding me," said Krzyzewski when asked another question about his final season. "I'm 74 and still have a memory."

This year's season will look much different than last year, when players were competing in empty arenas across the United States.

Perhaps what may be top of mind for Krzyzewski at the start of this season is being in the moment with his guys.

"They can't play for me," Krzyzewski said. "They've got to play for us. We're not going to be good unless they own it. And it's like you can't do it for somebody, you've got to do it for you. That's the mentality we have and will continue to have."

Of course, you can't help but call attention to Krzyzewski's final year without respecting his entire career. However, he's quick to remind anyone that he doesn't give it any thought.

The day would not be complete absent of some work and some play.

"He's a machine. It's not luck," Notre Dame men's basketball head coach Mike Brey said of Krzyzewski. "It's how the man is wired."

The Triangle's "other Coach K," N.C. State's Kevin Keatts, also mused on the Tobacco Road rivalry.

"There's no friendly rivalry," Keatts said. "Obviously every time we compete, we're NC State and we want to win the game. And I'm sure he's got to represent his team and his school."

Of the big three ACC schools in the Triangle, the Blue Devils have the first exhibition game of the season. Duke will host Winston-Salem State University in an exhibition matchup at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 30.

The Wolfpack tips things off with an exhibition at PNC Arena at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1 against Elizabeth City State.

The Tar Heels also open with an exhibition game against Elizabeth City State. That will be Nov. 5 but tip time has not yet been announced.