• Inspiration

    Posted: December 16th, 2010

    I’m a sophmore in high school at Downers Grove North, Illinois. The first time I ever heard of Duke was when I was eight years old; I selected them as the champions of my March Madness tournament bracket. I have selected them every year since. Over the years, as I have selected them to keep winning, I have began to grow a passion for the school. I want to attend Duke University more than anything else I ever wanted. Every time I pray at night, blow out the candles on my birthday, or flip a coin into a fountain, Duke is what I am wishing for. I can feel my heart rate increase just by hearing the word “Duke” in a sentence. Last year, as a freshman, I was a below average student. My dad, for my birthday, took me to see Duke play Virginia Tech play Duke on February 21, 2010. The moment Duke and I collided, we fell in love with each other. My dad told me that this would be a “Once in a lifetime Experience”. I promised myself that he was wrong; I will make sure that it was only a FIRST in a lifetime experience. Duke turned me from an average student to an all Honors/AP student. I need to attend Duke because I want to give back to the school, and help it as much as it helped me. It made me find myself. It was like visiting heaven before my life ends. The kids at school now formally know me as the “future blue devil”. When teachers pass by me in the hallways, even teachers that I have never met, they wish me luck on being accepted. I have a whole school counting on my acceptance, and I will be accepted. I made every single thing for me Duke since then. And I mean EVERYTHING. My room? Everything is Duke. My clothes are all Duke. My toothbrush, my shoes, my winter hat or wallet or bumper sticker or pens and pencils at school. You name it, I have it. I have been e-mailing the office of admissions at Duke on advice on the kind of students they look for who are typically accepted. I was honored when they actually replied, and I would be absolutely in awe if you responded or even if Coach K. had something to say to me. So I want to say thank you, Coach K. If your Blue Devils were not such a successful team thanks to your leadership, I would have never chosen you, being the basketball-uneducated seven year old I was. You made this happen for me. You are the kind of man every university would be delighted to have, and you amaze me every time I see you on T.V. even if you lose the game. (Which rarely happens!) Good luck going undefeated, I have a lot of bets with my friends at school that you will not lose once, including March Madness. Thank you so much, you are my hero.
    Austin Lueder


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

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

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

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

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

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
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

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

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

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
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