Local News

Coach K's Ties To Durham Extend Far Beyond Basketball

Posted July 2, 2004

— When people hear "Coach K," they probably think Duke basketball.

But Mike Krzyzewski also is well known for his contributions to the community. The basketball season only takes up part of the year, but Coach K's community involvement lasts year round.

In the last decade, Krzyzewski has played a major role at Duke Children's Hospital. His wife, Mickie, and he were the first chairs of the board, and they have helped bring in millions for the children's hospital.

Those who know Coach K say children are his passion.

"He takes kids on tours, takes them to practices," said Dr. Dennis Clements. "He shows up at events to raise money."

With three national championships, Krzyzewski is considered one of the best coaches in college basketball history. His program also is known for having one of the best graduation rates among athletes.

That has not been lost on those in the academic world.

"The match is very good," biology professor Kathleen Smith said. "At Duke University, it's hard to imagine someone who could pull it off better."

Smith said Krzyzewski is able to bring people together and unify the university.

"He hasn't just stayed in basketball," Smith said. "He's been important in fund-raising, the business school. He meets with students, and he has the ability to outreach."

Coach K also is behind the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center in the West End section of Durham. When it is completed, it will house a recreation center and be a major resource center for families in the community.

Krzyzewski also recently partnered with the Durham Public School system to help kids with fitness.

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