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Coach K to Deliver Commencement Address
Durham, NC - Duke University men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, now in his 36th year leading the Blue Devils, will deliver the commencement address for Duke’s Class of 2016, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead announced Thursday.
Commencement exercises are May 15, 2016, in Wallace Wade Stadium and are open to the public.
“For a commencement speaker, we look for someone of outstanding personal achievement who is also an excellent speaker -- and who knows and cares about Duke,” Brodhead said. “Mike Krzyzewski fits this description to perfection.
“In addition to being a beloved figure at Duke, he is admired throughout the nation and the world for his ability to communicate on issues of leadership and character,” Brodhead added. “I’m delighted that this year’s graduates will have the chance to hear him at their graduation.”
Since arriving at Duke in 1980, Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to five NCAA championships -- including last season -- and 12 Final Four appearances. He has amassed the most wins in NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball history. In 2001, he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Coach K,” as he is known to fans, has also been the head coach of the USA Men’s National team. In that role, he guided the men’s basketball team to gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. Krzyzewski will coach the U.S. men’s basketball team once more during next summer’s Olympics in Brazil.
Krzyzewski also teaches courses in leadership at the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics and is active in the Durham community. He chairs the board of directors of the Emily Krzyzewski Center, a Durham community center named for his late mother that serves economically disadvantaged students. And he is actively involved with several charitable organizations, including Duke Children’s Hospital and the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research.
The university recognized his vital role on campus in 1997 by awarding him Duke’s highest honor -- the Medal of Honor -- at the University Founders’ Day Convocation.
“Duke has been my home for more than 35 years,” said Krzyzewski. “During that time, one of my greatest joys has been sharing time with our students, who are amazing representatives of this university.
“They are the lifeblood that accentuates the excellence for which Duke University is known throughout the world,” he said. “It was humbling to be asked to address the students, and I consider it a tremendous honor to be able to spend time with them at such an important event in their lives.”
Krzyzewski, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, served as head basketball coach at Army before arriving at Duke. Before launching his coaching career, he played on the Army team from 1967-1969.
Krzyzewski remains involved with the military. In 2014, he was awarded the George Catlett Marshall Medal, the highest award presented by the Association of the United States Army to an individual who has exhibited selfless service to the United States.
Krzyzewski is also the author or co-author of several books about basketball and about leadership. He is a popular speaker on leadership and motivation, and hosts “Basketball and Beyond,” a weekly radio show on Sirius XM in which he interviews successful people from sports, entertainment, government and more.
Keizra Mecklai, a Duke senior who is president of Duke Student Government, was happy with the selection of Coach K.
“I think students will be excited to hear more about who he is and how he got where he is,” Mecklai said. “I’m excited. I think this was a great call.”
Fellow Duke senior Rivers Hughes agreed.
“It will be an opportunity for students to hear him speak in a setting that has nothing to do with basketball,” Hughes said. “I think it will be fantastic.”
More information about Duke’s commencement ceremony is available at: https://commencement.duke.edu/. A summary of Coach Krzyzewski’s career is available at: http://coachk.com/quick-facts/.
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