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Sports Opinion: 903 Devilish wins for Duke's Coach K

By John Wilmhoff
On November 30, 2011

Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel was known for years as a sweater vest-wearing, honest, straight shooter who led a clean, yet extremely successful football program at Ohio State—that is, until he got busted for lying to the NCAA about improper benefits that more than fifty of his players received.

Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was universally respected as a grandfatherlike "molder of men" figure, embodying all the attributes desirable in a coach or mentor to young men, or so we thought. Paterno was recently fired in the midst of the worst and most disgusting scandal in the history of college sports: an alleged cover-up and enablement of child sex abuse in Penn State football facilities by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. 

The Penn State mess suddenly made the tattoos and other improper benefits received at Ohio State to be not such of a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but Tressel was still wrong for lying and Paterno fell far short of his moral obligation to do more to prevent child sex abuse at Penn State. Both Tressel and Paterno have each fallen short of the golden reputation that rightfully or wrongfully had been given to them by talking heads of the sports media.

When will the media ever learn? When Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, affectionately known as "Coach K," recently reached 903 career wins to become college basketball's all-time winningest coach, it made me sick hearing non-stop on ESPN about his character, his ability to "mold men", and do things the right way.

I've heard the same remarks on Tressel for a decade and on Paterno throughout my entire life. Coach K should be recognized for his wins on the basketball court. Outside of that, he's a regular guy who makes mistakes just like everyone else does.

In fact, Coach K openly broke a recruiting violation while contacting now-Kentucky commit Alex Poythress during a no-contact period last summer.Poythress, unknowing that the Duke coach illegally contacted him, publically tweeted out about the conversation, but the NCAA and media simply ignored it.

Bigger things have been ignored surrounding Coach K's program in the past, but when something comes up too big and too dirty not to ignore in the future, nobody should act surprised. Coaches are regular people who make regular human mistakes, and like Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno, Mike Krzyzewski isn't an exception either.


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