Commentary

Coach K wins fourth national title

Updated: April 6, 2010, 12:16 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

DukeBob Donnan/US PresswireDuke head coach Mike Krzyzewski after defeating Butler in the 2010 national championship game.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's legacy was established long before Monday night in Indianapolis.

Win or lose, Coach K has already earned honors as one of the premier coaches in the history of college basketball. After winning his fourth national title, a feat accomplished by only two others, it is time to put him in a different arena, in my opinion.

[+] EnlargeCoach K
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesMike Krzyzewski (4) only trails John Wooden (10) on the all-time national title list.

First of all, just look at the résumé. Beside the four championships, think about 11 Final Four appearances; only John Wooden has more, while Dean Smith also has 11. Coach K has won 77 NCAA tournament games, more than any other coach. He was chosen for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and even led Team USA to the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Oh, yes, there are also 11 ACC regular-season titles and 11 conference tournament championships to his credit. He coached an unheard-of seven national player of the year winners.

Duke is an incredible 93-18 over the past three years. Are you serious?

Coach K also has 868 career college coaching wins. He is now within 35 of passing his mentor, the General, Robert Montgomery Knight as the winningest coach in Division I history. Ironically, his Blue Devils won 35 games en route to the national championship this season.

Can you imagine how incredible it would be if Coach K had a shot to catch or pass Knight during next year's NCAA tournament?

It is time to include Mike Krzyzewski in the argument beyond college basketball. I feel he should be considered among the best coaches in sports history. Think about it, why shouldn't he be up there with names like Vince Lombardi, Joe Paterno, Paul "Bear" Bryant and John Wooden?

His legacy was in place long before that fourth championship. His ability to lead, to motivate and to teach puts him on a different level. He should be included in a greater class, because he is truly the best of the best.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.