Fans attending Saturday’s Duke-North Carolina game will receive a limited edition commemorative magazine titled “Coach K’s Final Game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.”
The magazine, edited by John Roth and produced by Blue Devils Sports Properties, is packed with stories, memories, timelines and photos to commemorate head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s remarkable career at Duke.
Included below are previews of each article in the magazine what will surly become a collector’s item.
Coach K’s Love Affair With Cameron In His Own Words
“Cameron is one of a kind, and I didn’t know that when I first got the job here. What I’ve found is that you can’t compare it to any place else. For the 42 years I’ve been here, it’s been my home. I’ve walked out on this court hundreds of times coaching the great Duke teams of the past four decades. I wouldn’t want to live any place else and that’s why I’ve never gone any place else. The only thing I’m jealous of for my players is that I’ve never been able to run out on the court as a player. How lucky our players have been to be able to play their college careers here in this magnificent arena.
“I think the thing I love most about Cameron is that it has a feel all the time. Obviously for a game, with the Cameron Crazies and the crowd going, anyone who’s been at one of our games — especially if you’re a Duke fan — it’s an amazing moment, a bucket list moment. But I have those feelings when there’s nobody here. When you walk in and you look at the banners, you just take a moment and you feel Cameron. There’s no place like that for me, where every time I walk into it there’s a good feeling, whether there are 9,000 people in here or there’s only one. That’s one of the things that sets it apart for me.”
Nothing Could Be Finer: An already-fierce rivalry with UNC became epic during the Coach K era
The Duke-North Carolina basketball rivalry enjoyed a unique level of popularity long before Mike Krzyzewski arrived at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
There was the Senior Day performance for the ages by Dick Groat vs. UNC in the early 1950s, the most notorious brawl in ACC history featuring Art Heyman and Larry Brown in the early 1960s, the dramatic Robby West shot on Cameron dedication day to upset the Tar Heels in the early 1970s, and the famous 7-0 Airball first half just over a year before Coach K was hired away from Army. Some old-timers think the very best game ever staged at the Indoor Stadium was a triple-overtime marathon vs. Carolina in 1968, when Krzyzewski was playing point guard for Bob Knight at West Point.
But while plenty of magic moments in the century-old Battle of the Blues pre-date Coach K, there can be no doubt that the rivalry has escalated to legendary status during his 42-year run as the Duke head coach.
Cameron Classics: Coach K’s 600+ home games have produced countless vintage moments beyond the Battle of the Blues
Mike Krzyzewski’s first official game at Cameron Indoor Stadium was a victory over Stetson on Nov. 29, 1980. His 648th, and final, game in the 82-year-old arena is March 5 vs. North Carolina. He’s enjoyed 11 undefeated home seasons and won 88 percent of his games on the floor now known as Coach K Court. More than a few would be considered Cameron classics.
“A vintage Cameron contest usually means a big-time opponent, a conference game or a team from a power conference,” Krzyzewski once noted. “There’s a certain level of intensity, anticipation. The crowd anticipates, they become more one with the game. It’s really so unique. It started in the 80s for me when I started feeling that, with that ’86 team. You anticipate it in your preparation, and then when you walk out on to the court, okay, we’re on. You look at the other team and their faces, and our kids’ faces, and you say, Okay for the next couple hours, this is going to be high-level. And then you want to be in that moment.”
Here are 20 of the many vintage Cameron contests — not including Duke-Carolina games — during Coach K’s 42-year tenure.
March On: A legacy built on tournament excellence approaches final curtain call — Five intriguing contrasts from four decades of postseason glory
Retrospect banishes urgency. We know how things turned out, a pleasure and a burden we didn’t share as life unfolded. The past is fact, clear enough, at least in sports, so the outcome is given, like it or not.
Any way we got here, before Mike Krzyzewski leaves the Duke bench for good, before the undergrads quit genuflecting reverentially as he traverses the Cameron court prior to games, fans of the Blue Devils and the ACC would do well to look back to better gauge where he’s taken them.
For nearly 40 years outcomes have been more engrossing than not as orchestrated by Coach K. Even when a Duke shot bounces off a rim as time expires, hit or miss there’s the exquisite feeling of prowling at the edge of great achievement.
This constant promise was scarcely envisioned in the early days of Krzyzewski’s Duke tenure, but shifted during the mid-1980s. Extraordinary achievements have been in the offing nearly without interruption ever since, most notably with 12 Final Four appearances, including seven from 1986 to 1994, and 10 ACC Tournament titles in 20 years between 1986 and 2005. Five more ACC crowns have come since 2005, and two more national championships were added to the first three in 2010 and 2015.
Asked to mull his legacy, Krzyzewski insisted as he approached retirement, “I really put things in the past so I can live in the moment.”
Captain Krzyzewski’s leadership genius has extended well beyond the basketball court
It was 2004 and the Blue Devils were in San Antonio for a shot at another national championship.
Alex Wolff, writing for Sports Illustrated, walked up to me and asked if I had any good story ideas for him. “Not really,” I said. “You know most of the angles with this team. Redick shooting. Deng playing great on both ends of the court.”
He grinned a little and looked at me. “What about that nickname you guys have for Mike?” he asked.
“You mean Captain?” I responded. “We still call him that, and it may be more appropriate now than any other time.”
Best Seat In The House: An interview with Mickie Krzyzewski
“Before a game I’m very anxious. Generally, I’ve watched some of the tape that he’s been watching at home, then I have to stop watching because I get terrified. I’ll find a player on the other team that terrifies me, so that’s not a good thing for me to do. At the games, I’m very stressed. As time has gone on and we’ve been more and more successful, that stress has gotten worse. You would think that it would get better, but it hasn’t — it’s worse. For whatever reason, and I don’t know why this is, but I’ve talked to other coaches and their wives and it’s the same for them — losing feels worse than winning feels good. So you just don’t want to lose because it’s going to feel so bad, and I feel bad for so many people.”