Local News

Fans, Followers Can't Imagine Duke Without Coach K

Posted July 2, 2004 5:00 a.m. EDT

— If Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski decides to pack his bags for Los Angeles and become the Lakers' head coach, fans and followers said it will be difficult to imagine college basketball -- Duke basketball in particular -- without him.

The Blue Devils and Krzyzewski have 24 years of basketball history. It's a marriage that would seem difficult to split up.

Now, the Los Angeles Lakers are courting the coach for a job with the NBA.

"It would be a humongous loss for Duke," Bill Brill said. "It would be a bigger loss for college basketball. He is the spokesman for college basketball. He is the guy that has the ideas."

Brill knows the history. He has written about the Duke basketball program and Krzyzewski's three national championships.

Coach K's departure is not a chapter Brill expected or wanted to write.

When asked what would the Duke program if Krzyzewski goes to the pros, Brill said: "That's a good question.

"They're sitting there with eight players for this year, one of which is a senior, and five are juniors," he said. "So there's only two underclassmen in the entire program. It could be catastrophic, actually."

While Krzyzewski is the image on the court, Bob Harris the voice of the Blue Devils for the Duke Sports Network. Harris said the possibility of losing Coach K to the pros caught a lot of people off guard.

"It caught me by surprise," Harris said.

Getting over the loss would be one challenge. Replacing Krzyzewski would be quite another.

"To many people, he is Duke University," Harris said.

Said Brill: "You can't follow a legend. You're talking about a program that essentially has dominated college basketball for the last 20 years."