Music Playlist

This season on his XM Radio Show “Basketball and Beyond”, Coach K is sharing his interest in music with his listeners and discussing some of his favorite songs. Take a look below at the Hall of Famer’s playlist and some of his comments for each song.

This song reminds me of my former players, and the 1992-1993 team, in particular. I truly feel like those players are a part of Duke Basketball, now and forever.

BARCELONA (Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe)
This song makes me think about my experience as an assistant with the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” in Barcelona. It is amazing to me how a particular piece of music can completely capture the feeling of a moment.

AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG (The Temptations)
I can remember listening to this song while shooting baskets in a schoolyard growing up in inner-city Chicago. This is the song that first inspired my love of Motown music.

OOH BABY BABY (Smokey Robinson)
This is probably what I would call my “favorite song.” And certainly Smokey is my favorite artist. Listening to Motown music with my fellow cadets is one of the primary things that got me through the tough times attending West Point.

I love the purity and innocence of this song and its message reminds me of my wife of 39 years, Mickie.

This song was a favorite of my best friend growing up, Moe, and the rest of our group of friends: the Columbos. I can always picture Moe performing his famous “sit-down dancing” to this one.

This song will always bring back memories of our 2001 National Championship team. When our bus driver, Jimmy, would play the BeeGees over the bus speakers, the players would always try to get me to dance. I told them that I would only dance if we won the whole thing. We did, and I did!

MUSIC OF THE NIGHT (From Phantom of the Opera)
Believe it or not, I love musicals and particularly love seeing them in the theatre. I admire the passion of the actors and it amazes me the way they are able to perform so emotionally night after night. This one from Phantom of the Opera is a personal favorite.

I danced to this song with my daughter, Debbie, at her wedding. We have always counted on one another and made each other better. I think this song really captures that.

UNFORGETTABLE (Nat King Cole/Natalie Cole)
This was the one my daughter, Lindy, and I danced to at her wedding. I love that the song is also performed by a father and daughter.

IT’S YOUR SONG (Garth Brooks)
My daughter, Jamie, and I danced to this one. I love the line, “If there ever was somebody who made me believe in me, it was you.”

LISTEN (Beyonce — From Dreamgirls)
I have become a huge fan of Beyonce and of the movie, Dreamgirls. I am so impressed by the performances in that movie including this one by Beyonce.

Each year, we put together a video of highlights of the season and of the graduating seniors. My wife and daughters try to choose a song that really captures who that team and those individuals were. This one, which we used for the senior class of 1994, is one of my favorites. True friendship is an amazing thing.

EMILY (Michael W. Smith)
My mom’s name was Emily. This song reminds me of her. In fact, it has become the theme song for the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center — a community center that our family has helped build in downtown Durham, NC.

LEGENDS OF THE FALL THEME (Legends of the Fall Soundtrack)
I love the movie, Legends of the Fall, as well as its soundtrack. I think it is incredible how instrumental music can often be just as powerful as music with lyrics.


You have to adapt what you do based on who you are. In teaching, you must remember that no group or individual is the same as who you taught the day before, the year before, or the decade before. Your plan has to suit who you and your team are right now.

- Coach K

You can possess countless good qualities as an individual, but if you don”t have the courage to proceed, you may never see those qualities come into fruition. It takes courage to put what you believe to be best of you on the line, to test it, and to see how far it takes you. Courage means daring to do what you imagine.

- Coach K

No matter how successful you believe yourself to be, you can never feel as if you’ve reached the absolute pinnacle. There are always new and wonderful challenges out there, and part of maintaining success is knowing when you need to accept them.

- Coach K

When you care about someone or something, you show genuine concern for that person or thing, in good times or bad. When you care about one another and about your purpose, you are compelled to put your feelings into action. Care creates an atmosphere that breeds success and gives you the confidence to try again.

- Coach K

Belief can mean the difference between a fear of failure and the courage to try. On a team or in a family, belief makes each individual stronger and also fortifies the group as a whole. The basis of belief is in individual relationships.

- Coach K

Adversity can teach you more about yourself than any success, and overcoming an obstacle can sometimes feel even better than achieving an easy victory. Through adversity, you can discover things about your endurance, your ability to turn a negative into a positive, and your personal strength of heart.

- Coach K

Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication. Communication does not always occur naturally, and must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one. The most crucial element of communicating is telling the truth.

- Coach K

When you are winning, your commitment is never challenged. But loyalty and dedication during difficult times can be tough. When commitment doesn’t waver, that’s when you have the greatest chance of winning. You can never give up.

- Coach K
Collective Responsibility

We win and we lose together. Handling the responsibility for wins and losses together removes the burden from one individual’s shoulders and distributes it among each member of the team. That atmosphere is conducive to high-level performance and places you and your team in the position to be bold and unafraid, and if you should lose, you are not alone.

- Coach K

Take care not to allow one aspect of your life to so consume you that you neglect the others. Balance can put things in perspective, can bring you joy even when you are down, and can allow you to be at your best in all aspects of your life.

- Coach K
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