A winner, any way you spell it

His name is hard to say. It’s harder to spell. But it will never be forgotten.

 

Mike Krzyzewski was knighted – literally – the winningest coach in men’s college basketball history with victory 903 Tuesday night in New York.

On hand to dub him was his former coach and the man whose record he eclipsed: Bob Knight. Their long embrace immediately after the game was a historic moment for all of sports; Krzyzewski, hailed as one of the athletic world’s greatest leaders ever, was able to thank, and be congratulated by, the legend whose record he surpassed. How often does that happen?

Together, the two have been a factory spitting out not only great players, but good ones. While Knight is most famous for his temper, it’s his core principles of character and values, handed down to Krzyzewski, that have led both these coaches to the summit.

They’re already wondering if Krzyzewski’s is a record that may never be beaten, and with good reason. He’s only 64, so the wins will only keep piling up. Several older, very successful coaches are 50 games behind Krzyzewski – and someone figured out that a 35-year-old coach today would have to win close to 30 games a year for 30 years to reach the outskirts of Krzyzewski-land.

A television commercial from years ago had fun with the coach’s difficult name – depicting a freeloading airline passenger who tries to impersonate Krzyzewski in order to ride in his limousine. Problem is, he’s easily found out. He can’t say the name.

You don’t need to now. It’s etched in stone.

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