For Duke's Coach K, Basketball Is a Family Affair

When you hear the name Mike Krzyzewski, most people think of the supremely confident, vein-popping, Duke basketball coach who stews, steams and swears on the sidelines.

Krzyzewski is that man, but there's a lot sports fans might not know about the infamous head coach -- besides the spelling of his mind-boggling last-name.

"He's the man who would play beautiful princess with me and my sisters," said middle daughter, Lindy Frasher, 33.

What most do know about "Coach K" -- as he's called -- is his record. In his 30 years at Duke, Krzyzewski has four national titles, with 868 wins under his belt as head coach. He's just 34 wins away from being No. 1 on the list of all-time winning basketball coaches, but Krzyzewski swears it's not just about winning.

Coach K: A Winners Mind
Coach K: A Winner's Mind

"If we define everything by winning, I think it's a very shallow existence. If I spent every waking moment trying to just beat you, eventually that becomes a shallow life," he said. "I'm not saying that's never been a part of my life, but as I've grown older and more mature that can't be what motivates me. Again, I want to beat you, but that can't be the bottom line for me because I've won enough to do that."

The Bottom Line: Leadership

Krzyzewski says all he ever wanted to be is a leader.

"That is what I was trained to do. That's why I went to West Point -- not just to be an army officer, but to be a leader," he said. "Every cadet who has gone to West Point or who is there takes an oath, a lifetime of selfless service to our country in a leadership position."

VIDEO: Duke basketballs Mike Krzyzewski insists the NBA is not in his future.
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Krzyzewski graduated from West Point in 1969. He never served in combat, but was captain of the basketball team and immediately went into coaching. He became the head coach at West Point in 1975, before taking the helm at Duke in 1980.

Krzyzewski's theories on leadership read like a motivational speaking kit. Take his metaphor of the fist for the five players on the court.

"With a basketball team, it just works out that there are five guys and if five can play as one and play like this -- going at people with all the talent of the team," he said. "You have to communicate, you have to care for one another, you have to have collective responsibility, you have to trust one another and you have to have pride in the group that you're with and then you go forward and you hardly ever beat yourself that way."

Krzyzewski has had so much success with the fist at Duke, and coaching the 2008 Gold Medal Olympic team, that there has been constant speculation about a possible jump to the pros. When asked about a move to the NBA, he tried to put it to bed more emphatically than ever.

"I'm coaching here [Duke] forever -- for as long as I coach," he said. "I'm not going to go to the NBA."

It's a Shermanesque statement, but he insists he won't go next year, not ever -- even if Cavaliers' star LeBron James came knocking at his door.

Krzyzewski's Modest Roots

Krzyzewski turned down a reported $40 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers a few years ago -- a hefty sum for a kid who grew up in Chicago, the child of Polish immigrants. His father was an elevator operator, and his mother swept floors for extra money. Both shaped Krzyzewski into the man he is today.

"Everybody has a mom. My mom ended up being the greatest person in my life," he said. "Even when I became this coach, my mother was at my side here, and she's at my side here."

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