Meet Mike Krzyzewski, the college years.
While the rest of his generation burned it down at the Moon Tower, the future face of college basketball was getting buckets and parting hair at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
The young prep schooler from Chicago was just beginning to show his potential as a leader of men and hone his craft under the tutelage of then-West Point basketball coach Bob Knight.
Few images survive from this formative period in Krzyzewski’s life, but someone, somewhere appears to have dug up another gem of basketball past. The image in question appears to be a yearbook photo taken in 1969—Krzyzewski’s senior year at West Point.
Those eyes are capable of taming men twice his size. Those sharp orbs combined with his shimmering pelt of parted hair probably melted every female and bank vault he passed.
The image was recently posted to Imgur.com, and if authentic, it is probably the most pricelessly beautiful photograph ever taken of “Mick” Krzyzewski, as he was referred to by the yearbook staff.
Beyond its pure, aesthetic joy, the description included with the yearbook picture gives a brief rundown on Krzyzewski that’s both entertaining and spooky in its foreshadowing.
For starters, no one in 1969 knew how to pronounce Krzyzewski’s last name. The yearbook writers make light of this fact by jokingly spelling out the pronunciation as “Kriz-il-lon-ski.”
“Mick” is also described as among the “cream” of his class, and allusions to his “endurance” in “the phone booth” are made—because calling home can be such a long, tedious process. Cough.
More telling details in the description account for Krzyzewski’s humble manner and his leadership of the “Sesumarongi.” What this exactly means remains unknown, but it’s a lot more entertaining if you imagine Krzyzewski as the leader of a group of budding poets who have secret, candlelit cave meetings.
The description ends on a jibe about Krzyzewski’s nose. The yearbook editors forecast his future as one that will be on par with that of “Durante, DeBergerac and Pinocchio”—all famous characters with large snouts.
Their jokes aside, you can’t say they were wrong.
Mick Krizilonski: A college man through and through.