July 4, 2004 in Sports

Blue Devil fans await decision

Charlotte Observer
 
Associated Press photo

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski may have issued his last dissenting opinion to an NCAA Tournament official.
(Full-size photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Los Angeles Lakers could make Mike Krzyzewski a richer man, but his friends say money alone won’t persuade him to leave Duke.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Lakers had offered Krzyzewski $40 million over five years to coach the NBA team. Krzyzewski is expected to take the weekend to consider the offer, according to a source close to Duke.

“This is not about money with Mike,” said former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, a longtime friend of Krzyzewski. “This is not about security. This is about him being challenged and him being happy.”

Krzyzewski, 57, has what is called a “lifetime contract” at Duke through 2011, when he will reach 65. Duke has never publicly revealed the value of Krzyzewski’s contract, and as a private school isn’t obligated to.

Duke athletics director Joe Alleva said Thursday that Duke would work to find ways to make the job with the Blue Devils more appealing to Krzyzewski, who already is a special assistant to the president and has the basketball floor at Duke named after him.

John Burness, a Duke senior vice president, told the Associated Press that it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that Duke would modify Krzyzewski’s contract in an effort to keep him.

About 100 fans and students held a rally Thursday night outside Cameron Indoor Stadium urging Krzyzewski to stay. On Friday, former Virginia coach Terry Holland said he would be surprised if Krzyzewski left.

Holland said he didn’t think money or Krzyzewski’s frustration over players leaving college early for the NBA would be the biggest factors in the decision.

“It would be more along the lines of, ‘I’ve done everything I can do here, I’ve got some great guys who are ready to take over here, and it’s close to time for them to do it,’ ” Holland said.

The Lakers also have interviewed veteran NBA coaches Pat Riley — who coached the team in the 1980s — and Rudy Tomjanovich. Krzyzewski has considered NBA offers in the past, most notably from the Boston Celtics in 1990 and the Portland Trail Blazers in 1994.

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