Coach K, otherwise known as Mike Krzyzewski, will be going for his 1,000th win of his career on Sunday afternoon when his Duke Blue Devils take on the St. John’s Red Storm. While people have known for a while that this day was actually coming for Coach K, now that it’s finally here, all eyes are on the nation’s fifth-ranked team to see just how many tries it will take to get to this particular promised land.
Coach K and the rest of his team know that the 1,000th win is actually one that has been a bit of a recruiting advantage over the last few years. Being able to tell players, or even just to have that in the front of their minds, has been a boon for Coach K and his assistants when they go into living rooms. When players like Jahlil Okafor explain why they decided to play for Coach K and Duke, the win comes up quite quickly.
“With Duke I felt more comfortable going to play with the winningest coach in college basketball,” Okafor said during his televised college decision announcement, according to the News Observer. “And me personally getting a chance to help Coach K with his 1,000th game … that was the tipping point for me.”
If Krzyzewski does indeed get his 1,000th win today, it will mean he gets that win in the same building where he became the winningest coach in college basketball three years ago. While the win would certainly be nice, Coach K is very clear that he’s focused on winning more important games than a regular season, non-conference tilt.
“In order to win that many games, it’s taken 40 years – that’s a long time, and so you don’t win like that by being in the moment of a single-game accomplishment,” Coach K said. “You do it in the accomplishment of what you’re trying to do for an entire season.”
Even if Krzyzewski doesn’t get the milestone win on Sunday, it’s almost a certainty that he will get it this season. Getting the victory today would mean that the countdown to when he does win number 1,000 won’t be overshadowing what his team (yet again one of the best in the country) is trying to do. Duke has a legitimate shot at winning the national title. Having 1,000 wins and yet another championship would likely be the icing on the cake for Coach K.