Duke basketball: Mike Krzyzewski given award named after UNC legend

Former Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Former Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski was given an award named after a UNC legend. 

Former Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski is staying in the news after he was named as the recipient of this year’s Dean Smith Award, present by the United States Basketball Writers Association.

Smith, the legendary North Carolina coach, had a long relationship with Krzyzewski outside of the sport.

“It’s a tremendous honor to receive his award,” Krzyzewski said in a statement.

“I think I knew Dean [Smith], outside of the North Carolina family, as well as anyone, as a competitor and as a friend.”

The award was created in 2015, shortly after Smith passed away, to honor an individual in basketball who embodies the spirit and values of the Hall of Famer.

“There’s just been nobody like him,” Krzyzewski added.

Dean Smith was 59-35 overall against Duke and 24-14 in head-to-head games while Coach K was roaming the Blue Devil sideline.

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This season was the first year since 1980 that Krzyzewski was not the head coach of Duke after his retirement in 2022 and his replacement, Jon Scheyer, led the program to an ACC Tournament Championship in his first season, becoming just the third rookie head coach in league history to do so.

Former Duke basketball head coach leaves lasting legacy on sport

The legacy that Mike Krzyzewski leaves on college basketball will be everlasting and his input on the sport will always gather major attention.

“Honoring Coach K with this award not only recognizes his accomplishments on and off the court but brings full circle the story of his relationship with Dean Smith, from rivals to peers to friends,” USBWA president Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer said in a press release.

“This is the highest honor the USBWA can bestow on a coach,” DeCock continued.

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John Thompson, Tom Izzo, Don Donoher, Fran Dunphy, Bob McKillop, George Raveling, and Tubby Smith are the recipients of the award since its inception.

“In this case it speaks to the fierce competitiveness and vision transcending basketball that Smith and Krzyzewski shared.”

The award will be formally presented to Mike Krzyzewski on May 6 at the Emily Krzyzewski Center’s annual Mother’s Day Ball at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club.

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