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Thursday, December 30, 2010
Coach K reaches 880 wins

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

When you think about all of the coaches that have worked the college sidelines over the years, being number two on the Division I win list is a special achievement. Mike Krzyzewski reached number 880, passing the Michelangelo of coaching, Dean Smith of North Carolina as the Dukies demolished UNC Greensboro on Wednesday night.

Moving into the number two slot is a tribute to what Coach K has been all about. He has been more than an architect of a team, he has built an amazing program. Think about the fact that Duke struggled during his first three seasons under his leadership. In this day and age, where fans and administrators want instant gratification, many coaches would not have been retained at that point.

There is so much media coverage and scrutiny today, leading to pressure for athletic directors to get rid of coaches if they don't have great success early on. That lack of patience leads the ziggy, baby. Fortunately, Duke athletic director Tom Butters saw greatness in Krzyzewski and he has had a Hall of Fame career. The rest is history.

I have said it before and I will say it again. I believe that when you examine Krzyzewski's overall body of work, both on the international level with World Championships and the Olympics, and the collegiate landscape, he is the best coach of any sport today. I know some will say that I am biased because of my love for college basketball. I respect those who mention Phil Jackson, Bill Belichick and Geno Auriemma as all three have had major accomplishments that make them great too.

I cast my ballot for Coach K.

I believe that he would give a lot of the credit to the incredible institution that is Duke. It is a place with great basketball tradition when you think about some of Vic Bubas' teams. When Krzyzewski took over, the school was in the Final Four just a few years earlier. Duke is a great school academically, kids will graduate and he will have the opportunity to recruit the creme de la creme.

Recently I saw another future star on the horizon, Austin Rivers of Winter Park, Florida. He will be another superstar at Duke. They get great kids; when you think about the stars that have played there, guys like Grant Hill, Shane Battier, Jason Williams, Mike Dunleavy, etc., they represent the University and their families in a quality way.

When you have the formula of great coaching and great players, it equals success. That is what Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski is all about.

He is within striking distance of catching his mentor, Robert Montgomery Knight, for numero uno on the victory list this season. My friends, it is only a matter of time and when it is all said and done, I feel Krzyzewski will be the first Division I coach to get to the magical 1,000 Ws, joining Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt.