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Coach K moves past UNCs Smith
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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski moved past longtime rival Dean Smith into second place on the men’s all-time wins list Wednesday night when the No. 1 Blue Devils routed North Carolina-Greensboro 108-62.
Krzyzewski posted his 880th career victory. Coach K trails only Bob Knight, who mentored Krzyzewski and coached him at Army on the way to 902 wins. One fan in the stands held a sign that said: “You’re next, Bobby.”
When the buzzer sounded, Krzyzewski hugged UNC Greensboro coach — and former assistant — Mike Dement before making his way across the court for a television interview. The Hall of Fame coach waved to the Duke fans who helped pack the 23,000-seat Greensboro Coliseum.
The reigning national champions won their 22nd straight, pushing Krzyzewski past the man who coached the Tar Heels for 36 seasons before retiring in 1997 as the winningest coach in Division I history. Knight then passed Smith and retired nearly three years ago.
“I congratulate Mike on this milestone victory,” Smith said in a statement issued by North Carolina following the game. “I am sure he would want to share the credit for the wins with all his players and staff. I enjoyed competing against Mike’s teams throughout the years I was at UNC. I wish him continued health and personal success.”
Providing the Blue Devils run through the rest of their schedule undefeated, Krzyzewski — who is 880-279 in his 36th season as a head coach — will catch Knight in this same arena in March in the championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and pass him in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Greensboro Coliseum, located roughly an hour’s drive from Duke’s Durham campus, has become a second home for Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils, who haven’t been beaten here since a loss to Maryland in the 2004 ACC title game. They won the league tournament here for the fifth time under Krzyzewski last March before rolling through the NCAA tournament on the way claiming to their fourth national title, and haven’t lost since.