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If you want to talk about success stories, Duke basketball is the one to talk about. This miracle didn't just happen overnight, it took time. Krzyzewski became coach in 1980-81 with not a lot of talent. He makes big moves in recruiting in 1982. Some of the people he recruited included Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, David Henderson, Jay Bilas and Weldon Williams. People looked at this new and approved team as one of the nations best team. This started the miracle the still lives on today. Joining this powerful team was guard Tommy Amaker in 1983. Duke won 24 games in 1984 and earned the first NCAA bid under Coach K.
With the same boys, they were now seniors, the 1986 Duke team won an NCAA-record 37 games while claiming titles in the Big Apple NIT, ACC regular season, ACC Tournament and the NCAA East Regional. They made a school record with a 21-game winning streak during the year. They were undefeated at home, advanced to the NCAA Championship game in Dallas and played more games than any other team in college basketball history.
With the loss of the five seniors, many expected Duke to start losing again. Coach Krzyzewski was going backwards, he wanted to keep moving forward. . The team won 24 games and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual national champion Indiana in 1987. Amaker closed out his career as the National Defensive Player of the Year, while Coach K looks back at the season as the one that showed people how Duke was going to become a winning basketball program.
The 1987-88 season began the school's amazing streak of five straight NCAA Final Four appearances as the Blue Devils won 28 games, again swept to the ACC title, won another East Regional championship and ended up in Kansas City. Senior Billy King followed Amaker by winning the National Defensive Player of the Year award, the second in a row by a Blue Devil.
The role of leadership again fell to the senior class in 1988-89. This time it was the National Player of the Year Danny Ferry, Quin Snyder and John Smith taking the role. They lead the team to another trip to the NCAA Final Four with a win over favored Georgetown in the East Regional final.
In 1989-90, seniors Alaa Abdelnaby, Robert Brickey and Phil Henderson again took a big role.
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The big year for Duke was 1990-91. This season changed the Duke basketball program forever. After the 30-point loss to UNLV in the 1990, Coach K's team was determined to never be embarrassed like that ever again. The Blue Devils won the regular season ACC title and went to the four consecutive wins in the Midwest Regional for another chance to the Final Four.
In the semifinals Coach K led Duke to a 79-77 victory to earn a game with Kansas for the title. Duke's glory came on April 1, 1991, with a 72-65 victory over the Jay hawks. Christian Laettner earned MVP honors in Duke's first national basketball championship.
In 1992, this was said to be Dukes year. Coach K and his squad were up to the task of trying to be the best. Behind National Player of the Year Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill, the Blue Devils had a 34-2 record and held the No. 1 ranking from start to finish. Duke won its second consecutive NCAA title with a 71-51 victory over Michigan. On the way to the championship, the Blue Devils captured their fifth consecutive regional championship, won the ACC regular season and tournament titles and equaled the school record to that point for ACC victories with 14.
In 1993-94, the Blue Devils and Coach K were back and wanted another championship. Duke ended up with a 28-6 overall record, won the ACC regular season championship, was ranked from start to finish in the nation's top 10, captured the Southeast Regional title with an upset win over Purdue and went to the national championship game.
The Blue Devils finished the 1998-99 season equaling the NCAA record for most wins with 37, winning the NCAA East Regional title, winning the ACC Tournament for the first time since 1992, had the first 16-0 record in the ACC regular season, made a school-record 32-game winning streak during the year and ended up being the NCAA runner-ups. Elton Brand was the consensus National Player of the Year, Shane Battier was the NABC National Defensive Player of the Year and Trajan Langdon was a first team All-America for Duke.
In 1999-2000, Duke finished with a 29-5 record, its fourth consecutive ACC regular season championship with a 15-1 record, its second consecutive ACC Tournament title and the final regular season number one ranking in both major polls. Senior Chris Carrawell and junior Shane Battier were named consensus All-Americas and Battier earned his second consecutive National Defensive Player of the Year Award. The Blue Devils earned this even though they lost four starters from their 37-2 squad that advanced to the National Championship Game in 1999. Duke also had seven freshmen, the most on a Blue Devil team in school history, on its roster.
Continuing to build on his well-earned reputation as one of the top college basketball coaches of all time, Coach K led Duke to its third national championship in 2001, joining just three other coaches - Wooden (10), Adolph Rupp (4) and Bob Knight (3) - who have won three or more NCAA titles. The Blue Devils finished the season with a 35-4 record, including 10 consecutive victories to end the year, their third consecutive ACC Tournament championship, and fifth straight ACC regular season championship. Duke also was ranked at the top of the final Associated Press poll for the third consecutive season. Duke earned a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season in 2001, becoming the first team to be a number one seed four years in a row since the seeding process began in 1979. In league activity, Duke became just the second program in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference - the first in 32 years - to secure three consecutive ACC Tournament and regular season championships.
Under Coach K, two of his players earned a National Player of the Year awards in 2001. It was the first time in college basketball history that two players from the same team received National Player of the Year awards. Battier and Williams were both first team All-Americas, and Battier, the sixth overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, earned his third consecutive National Defensive Player of the Year award.
"I thoroughly loved coaching these kids," said Coach K after winning the 2001 national title. "They've been so good. They've given me their hearts, their minds, and not only that, they've given it to each other ... I get real close to the guys on my team. That's the most rewarding thing about what I do."
Coach K led Duke to another outstanding season in 2001-02. The Blue Devils finished 31-4 overall, won the ACC Tournament title for a record fourth consecutive year, were a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament for a record fifth straight season and finished number one in the final poll for the fourth consecutive season, which was another NCAA first. Three Duke players - Jason Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer - earned All-America honors and Williams became just the seventh repeat winner of National Player of the Year honors in college basketball history. Those Duke players also went to the NBA. Williams and Dunleavy were selected second and third, making them just the second set of teammates to be taken among the top three picks of the NBA Draft.
On the court, Coach K has averaged more than 25 wins a season during his career at Duke and posted seven 30-win seasons, including 30 or more victories in four of the last five years. Coach K's seven 30-win seasons are the most by any coach in college basketball history. He has directed his teams to nine Final Fours, third-most by any coach in NCAA history.
Many people say that Coach K is one of the best coaches that the league has seen. I think that with what he turned his team into backs up the evidence that Coach K is the greatest Coach in College Basketball history.