My lifelong preacher almost left my church.
Translation: Coach K contemplated a departure from the helm of my beloved Duke basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Satan tempted him.
Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers' general manager, traveled 3,000 miles last week to meet with Mike Krzyzewski at his home in Durham, N.C. He offered the three-time national champion coach (1991, 1992, 2001) $40 million dollars over five years to come to L.A.
Kupchak is not Satan, but the fact that he played for UNC (Duke's rival) means he must work for God's enemy. Same goes for Michael Jordan and Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson, who both played for the Tarheels under the man I consider the Anti-Christ, former coach Dean Smith (who has the most-ever Division I wins and is the source of any hatred I have towards the world).
When I was six years old growing up in North Carolina, Smith's Tarheels beat my Dukies in the ACC Tournament final (the two schools are separated by just eight miles). I cried because I had to see that evil grin on Deano's face (which also includes a nose that is the size of a tennis ball).
That same day I vowed to my Duke-graduate father that if I ever saw the UNC coach on the streets, I would punch him in the stomach.
Luckily, God has kept me out of his wicked presence.
But Smith's former player (Kupchak, who also played for Deano in the 1976 Olympics) screwed with the foundations of my religion by trying to influence Krzyzewski's destiny.
For me, Coach K is to Duke basketball what Jesus Christ is to Christianity. If he would have left, I would have lost my beliefs.
I understand the 57-year-old's difficulty with temptation, though.
Since 1999, Duke has lost eight players with eligibility remaining to the big bucks of the NBA.
Last season Duke lost a heart-breaker in the Final Four to Connecticut. After the loss, Blue Devil freshman phenom Luol Deng abandoned his coach for the pros (he was selected seventh in the NBA draft).
Then Duke's top incoming recruit, Shaun Livingston, decided to bypass college altogether (he was chosen fourth overall).
But the leader has a stronger will than the players. Krzyzewski said thanks, but no thanks to the Lakers' offer to make him the highest paid professional coach in the country.
And I say thank you to my favorite coach for keeping his faith in Duke and staying on to make a dream of mine come true.
As soon as Krzyzewski fulfills my vision by surpassing Deano's all-time win total (879), I will give him my full blessing to do whatever he likes with his life (with 694 victories, it should take him about six more seasons).
Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight - who was once synonymous with Indiana basketball and was also Krzyzewski's coach at West Point - will probably break Smith's record before then.
But I will be happier than a five year old at McDonald's just as long as the Duke coach ends his career with more wins than the man who represents everything that is wrong with the world (Deano).
Coach K came to Duke the year before I was born. For 23 years, I have learned valuable lessons about life by watching him coach the Blue Devils.
While he is a disciplinarian, Coach K is also known as the best motivator in college basketball (Duke recently honored him by painting "Coach K Court" on the floor of its 9,314-seat Cameron Indoor Stadium).
Had I never watched Krzyzewski reign over the Duke sidelines, I wouldn't be an aspiring sports writer. He represents everything that I like about athletics.
That's why my heart sank when I heard that Lakers star Kobe Bryant called Krzyzewski last Monday to personally invite the Hall of Famer to be his coach.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Coach K walked into a gym on Duke's campus and told a group of Blue Devil supporters, "You'll never guess who called. Kobe Bryant. He wants me to come coach him."
Bryant skipped college for the NBA, but he has since confirmed that he would have played for Coach K had he chosen to go to school. And Kupchak said he wants to make every effort possible to keep Bryant happy in L.A.
I was worried the Church of Duke Basketball would collapse.
While The Second Coming discussed the Lakers' offer with his family at the beach last weekend, I was left with sweaty palms, a racing heart and no sleep. I felt like a recovering crack addict.
As I watched constant updates on ESPN about Coach K's possible departure, I thought I would have to put myself in a nuthouse. But the former Tarheel Kupchak couldn't sway him from my former school (I dropped out of Duke during my sophomore year - my passion for basketball didn't help me with calculus).
Coach K - who has led the Dookies to 10 final fours, eight ACC Tournament championships and 10 regular-season conference titles - officially announced his decision to stay yesterday.
I'm singing "Hallelujah." Because those light-blue Tarholes from Chapel Hell, N. C. , once again failed to ruin my life.
Go Duke ... and I hope this column makes all UNC fans puke.
- Matt Giles is the sports editor of The Daily Beacon and a senior in journalism. He can be reached at mgiles@utk. edu.
Coach K decides to stay at Duke
Published: Tue Jul 06, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:11 p.m.