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Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski

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Mike had to explain to Tommy why he couldn't be the guy," one Duke source said, according to the book. "He can be Don Corleone when he needs to be." Eventually, Amaker decided not to take the job. Someone close to him, O'Connor writes, said he was "heartbroken" not to get the job. Scheyer was eventually announced as the successor. Kind of a fascinating biography by an author who appears contemptuous of his subject; since I can’t stand Coach K I was fully ready to embrace every aspersion, and was glad to find something more balanced than the hagiography I was expecting. There is, though, little context given to how Krzyzewski became so intensely driven; the narrative is mostly a long series of anecdotes (based on what seems like a staggering amount of research and interviews, although nothing on the record with the subject himself) that might at times be hard to follow for a reader who’s not steeped in recent basketball history. About 80 percent of the proceeds will go toward supporting The Chronicle, which is now in its 117th year of publication and 27th year of financial independence.

Coach K book in Season 2 has fans mad - For The Win The Bear: Coach K book in Season 2 has fans mad - For The Win

The second time I typed it, the time when I mentioned O'Connors inclusion of misspellings of Coach K's name, I spelled it wrong. Flagrant.Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski is an excellent read for hard-core college hoops fans. Like me. It should be noted that Krzyzewski himself did not speak to O’Connor for the book, though by all accounts he was receptive to the idea of others – from all chapters in his life – sitting down with the author. Make no mistake, however – this book is PLENTY thorough.)

Book: Coach K chose Scheyer over Amaker - ESPN Book: Coach K chose Scheyer over Amaker - ESPN

Having been a fan of Duke basketball and Coach K for most of his time at the elite program, I was thrilled and honored at the chance to review this book. The author writes about Krzyzewski’s temper and profanity, and that in defeat he was at times unpleasant to be around. He states that Krzyzewski at times had trouble saying he was sorry. Conscious that he did not want his book to steer into hagiography, O'Connor seem to go out of his way to share almost every occasion where Krzyzewski has been petty and ungracious. In an effort to provide nuance, however, O'Connor seems to raise questions without resolving them. For example, time and again, he hints darkly that corruption was rife in basketball recruiting and that, in effect, everyone was providing some form of improper benefits, and thus by implication, Duke likewise participated. Yet, he cannot provide a single example of a Duke basketball player receiving an improper benefit. His treatment of these issues was superficial and seemed calculated to reinforce the belief that Duke "gets all the calls."

Editor's Pick

An examination of past allegations of NCAA rules infractions and eligibility issues, and a belief among rival schools and coaches that the governing body gives Duke favorable treatment. Ian O'Connor's Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski is a fabulous look into the leader of Duke basketball.

Coach K – HarperCollins Coach K – HarperCollins

The Chronicle, Duke’s independent student news organization, has published a new book documenting Mike Krzyzewski’s historic coaching career ahead of his final season leading the Blue Devils. Both Scheyer and Amaker played for Krzyzewski -- Amaker from 1982 to '87 and Scheyer from 2006 to '2010. Amaker was an assistant coach at Duke for nine seasons, but left for a head-coaching job at Seton Hall in 1997 at age 31. He went on to coach at Michigan and has been the head coach at Harvard since 2007. Scheyer has been an assistant coach at Duke since 2013 and was promoted to associate head coach after the 2018 season. Coach K book Courtesy of Mariner Books

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I skipped the Sweet Sixteen -- March 24, for Duke -- and they won but still it was a dumb mistake. Traveling. This book by Ian O’Connor (I had previously read his book "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter"), looks at the life and career of former Duke Men’s basketball coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski from his growing up in Chicago through the announcement of his retirement before his 42nd and final season (2021-22). Although Krzyzewski did not agree to be interviewed for the project, he also did not discourage those closest to him from speaking with the author for this well researched book. Overall, I felt that the book was a balanced look at Krzyzewski, who I have always appreciated being successful while running a clean program.

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