Mike Krzyzewski became Division I college basketball's all-time winningest coach Tuesday evening, when Duke beat Michigan State 74-69 at Madison Square Garden.
Coach Krzyzewski, 64, known to the fans as Coach K, has led Duke's Blue Devils for 31 years.
Duke’s victory over Presbyterian on Saturday earned Coach K win number 902 - tying his former coach and mentor Bob Knight. Tuesday night's victory gave Coach K victory number 903.
Knight was at Tuesday's game, as a part of ESPN’s team coverage of the game. Krzyzewski went right across the court to Knight when the game ended. They were cheek to cheek in a hug. Krzyzewski, tears in his eyes, broke away and Knight pulled him back, hands on his shoulders, then one final slap of the shoulder.
"I just told Coach I love him," Krzyzewski said. "I wouldn't be in this position without him. It's a moment shared. I know he's very proud and I'm very proud to have been somebody who's worked under him and studied him and tried to be like him."
Krzyzewski said of Knight's presence at the historic game, "The basketball gods are good ... they put two guys who've done a lot in the game together, special moments, and tonight is another one of those special moments."
Coach K did admit that he wasn't sure this win would happen. "At halftime I wasn't sure we were going to have this moment. We beat a really good team and I'm glad now we can just move on and just develop our team."
After win number 902, Krzyzewski told the press in a post-game interview, “Whenever an individual coaching honor occurs, it’s because of your players and your assistants and the infrastructure you build...You’re just the recipient of a lot of good things, then, because you’re the head of it. Good players and unselfish kids win a lot of ballgames.”
Krzyzewski grew up in Chicago and later attended the United States Military Academy, where he played point guard for Knight in the 1960s. His college coaching career began with a graduate assistant position at Indiana University under Knight in 1974. A year later, he returned to West Point to assume his first head coaching position.
In 1980, he became head coach at Duke and has won four national championships since. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
In an interview on Monday, Krzyzewski downplayed the importance of the possible record setting game.
“I'd rather go out and try to win this game for the right reasons, and the residual is you get 903,” Krzyzewski said. “I mean, that's another perk you get from it. That's not the perk. The perk is beating Michigan State, going 3-0 and becoming a better team. And then things add up.”
With the Associated Press.