In the ultimate "student becomes the master" scenario, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski passed Bob Knight to become the all-time winningest coach in Division I college basketball history with 903 career wins. Is he even on par with "The General," his former coach and mentor? Bring on the stats!
Compare them to Coach Knight and they are strikingly similar. Both have a lot of NCAA tournament appearances (Knight: 28, Krzyzewski: 27), won numerous conference championships (Knight: 11, Krzyzewski: 13) and each won an Olympic gold medal (Knight: 1984, Krzyzewski: 2008).
Take into account that Coach K has coached five fewer seasons (37 to 42), made six more Final Fours (11 to 5) and won one more national championship (4 to 3), and you would have to say that he could hold his own in a side-by-side comparison. It is interesting to note that Coach Knight’s win totals decreased towards the end of his career, while Coach K has seen a steady climb.
‘77/’78 - ‘86/’87 Seasons: 225 wins
‘87/’88 - ‘96/’97 Seasons: 230 wins
‘97/’98 - ‘07/’08 Seasons: 205 wins
‘81/’82 - ‘90/’91 Seasons: 246 wins
‘91/’92 - ‘00/’01 Seasons: 274 wins
‘01/’02 - ‘10/’11 Seasons: 293 wins
While on the topic of career win totals, you have to look at who may eventually surpass Krzyzewski for the top spot in Division I college basketball. The list begins with two other active coaches who currently sit in the top 10. Jim Calhoun of the defending national champion Connecticut Huskies is No. 6 on the list with 855 victories. However, with ongoing health concerns and being five years the senior of Coach K, the possibility of the UConn coach being able to surpass the record seems unlikely. Fifth on the list is Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim with 856 wins. However, Boeheim is two years older and will have to coach at least two more winning seasons after Coach K retires to even come close.
Bob Huggins, Bill Self, Billy Donovan and Brad Stevens are all names that have generated discussion as potential coaches to take over the top spot. If these four coaches were to average 25 wins per season until they reach Coach K’s current age of 64, their wins totals would be as such:
Bob Huggins (age: 58)- 842
Bill Self (age: 48)- 843
Billy Donovan (age: 46)- 846
Brad Stevens (age: 35)- 843
Clearly, this record will not be an easy one to obtain. Factor in the stellar recruiting classes and number of wins Krzyzewski still brings in on a yearly basis, and it may be untouchable when it’s all said and done. For the time being, lets soak in what’s left of one of the greatest teachers, coaches and ambassadors of basketball the world has ever seen as Coach K's wins banner in Cameron Indoor Stadium continues to turn over after each victory.