If you need a play drawn up with your team down by a bucket in the final seconds, there are few college coaches you’d want more than Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. He’s one of the greats — a Hall of Famer with an impeccable resume. But if it’s epidemiological advice you seek, Coach K is urging people to look to the professionals of the medical field.
In an interview this week on Fox Sports with Colin Cowherd, Krzyzewski addressed the topic of college coaches speaking out on coronavirus, sometimes smartly, sometimes … not so much. In it he pushed for a more unified message from coaches to educate the public appropriately amid the pandemic.
“It’s disappointing that we don’t come out with a more unified voice,” he said, adding that it’s his desire that there be a commissioner for the sport to streamline and simplify messaging. “As a college coach, we represent the college player, not the college coach. And we should be the voice of the college player in the environment that that college player is in now — not 10 years ago or 20. And we should help streamline the changes that are needed to help the college player. And we don’t do that. There’s no way we do that. And that’s a failing. That’s why we’re in the dark ages in some of these things.”
Krzyzewski called the absence of a commissioner in college basketball “a failure” during his tenure, bemoaning the fact that messaging in a billion-dollar industry can often be helter-skelter.
“[College basketball] is run by a committee,” he said. “If there was a commissioner for college basketball and an office, because it’s a billion-dollar business, I think we would come out more with one voice. But as a result, sometimes people make comments, like right after a game, for social issues, and they don’t really mean all they say.”
With his resume and longevity in the sport, Coach K is considered one of the pre-eminent voices of college basketball. One of the many faces of the game. He’s used his platform to be progressive in pushing for policy changes, pleading for evolution from the NCAA. His message this week was perhaps his most important.
“Look: listen to Dr. Fauci. Listen to the scientists. It’s an amazing thing that all these press conferences are being held [by coaches]. Those are the only people I want to hear from. Let’s do the right thing, man.”