On Tuesday, November 15th 2011 history was made. Mike Krzyzewski (affectionately known as Coach K), the coach for the Duke Blue Devils became the winningest coach in the history of NCAA’s Division 1 Men’s Basketball with a win over Michigan State in New York.
In the midst of all the celebration and congratulations, one scene caught my attention. The coach who held the previous record, Bobby Knight was broadcasting the game. Right after the win, Coach K went over to Knight and the two of the greatest coaches embraced and exchanged some words with one another.
For those of you who are not familiar with the history of their relationship, it was a mentoring relationship that had a lot of ups and downs. Coach K was a player for West Point as Knight was the head coach. Coach K then went on to be an assistant coach for Knight. In essence, it was a mentoring relationship. This is why the surpassing of Knight’s record of 902 wins was very special. The best part was watching them embrace one another in light of everything they went through in the past.
Here are some lessons we can learn:
Photo by U.S. Military Academy
2) The importance of RESTORATION. It is noted that sometime in 1993 steps were taken to restore the broken relationship. Both men were proud men; therefore the relationship was not an easy thing to restore. Even though things seemed friendly, there were still some scars from the past. But the critical moment occurred in 2001. Coach K was voted into the basketball Hall of Fame and he needed to find someone to introduce him during the ceremony. After some thought, Coach K asked Knight to participate and he accepted. It was during that speech that Knight honored and lifted up Coach K for all his accomplishments; and as Coach K came up to the stage, Knight said that Coach K was “the best coach that I’ve had a team play against.” Coach K hugged Knight and cried. It was a completion to the healing process and the relationship was restored. It is amazing how many people go through life without having important relationships restored. We live with the pain and the bitterness rather than reconciling and living in freedom and joy. Sometimes the breach of the relationship might have been caused by a misunderstanding or even words that should not have been spoken. It just takes a person to humble themselves and take the first step towards repairing the bridge that was broken.
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3) The importance of RECOGNITION. Honor is something that is lost in our generation. But there was a glimpse of it after Duke’s win, which gave Coach K the record of being the winningest coach in NCAA Men’s Basketball history. After the final buzzer went off, Coach K went over to the broadcast table and embraced Knight, who was an ESPN analyst for the game. It was later discovered that Coach K said to Knight in their embrace, “I know a lot of people don’t tell you this, Coach, but I love you.” Then Knight responded in a way that only Knight could respond, he said, “Boy, you’ve done pretty good for a kid who couldn’t shoot.” In the post-game interview, Coach K responding to what Knight said to him, he said to the media, “I think that meant he loved me, too. I’m going to take it as that.” I don’t know why but it reminded so much of the relationship that many children have with their parents, who are from the old school. The parent thinks that giving a compliment or showing weakness is a bad thing, therefore they end up saying nothing or something that might be inappropriate. But the crazy thing is that the child understands and they just want their parents to keep their dignity. This is when we come to understand that honor is a two-way street.
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