WASHINGTON, D.C. — From the surface, the dichotomies between the programs of Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Huggins couldn’t be sharper. Coach K’s Duke programs have been consistently cited as the paragon of combining academic and athletic excellence, with the national title banners to prove that the two seemingly disparate elements of books and basketball can be combined successfully. Huggins, meanwhile, has carried a reputation of recruiting kids with dubious academic and personal issues in an all-out effort to win, all while burning bridges and jumping from school to school in the process.
Good versus Evil. All-Academic versus no graduation. The stereotypes are all too familiar to these coaches, the two elite coaches that will square off Saturday afternoon in the nation’s capitol couldn’t dispense with them enough when asked about each other.
“I really like Bob a lot,” Krzyzewski said. “He knows how to coach. But as a friend he’ll tell you the trough and this is definitely no good and evil [matchup] or whatever.”
And Huggins, who has known Krzyzewski for years and often appears on his XM Radio show, couldn’t have better things to say for about his counterpart.
“Mike is still the guy that grew up in Chicago, went to Weber High School,” Huggins said. “Some people change. Mike hasn’t changed….I admire people who kind of stick to their roots and stay grounded, and Mike has stayed totally grounded.”
–by Will Flaherty