More honors for a couple of Coach Ks.
Mike Krzyzewski, who has led Duke to five national championships and is the only Division I men’s coach with 1,000 victories, and women’s basketball pioneer Lucille Kyvallos of Queens College have won the Lapchick Character Award for 2015.
The winners of the eighth annual award were announced Monday. The award is named for the Naismith Hall of Fame coach and is presented by a group that includes Joe Lapchick biographer and former player Gus Alfieri. Lapchick coached St. John’s and the New York Knicks.
The awards will be presented Nov. 20 in New York. The recipients will be honored that night at the 2K Classic, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.
Duke will be playing that night in the final round of the four-team tournament at Madison Square Garden, the site of two of Krzyzewski’s biggest accomplishments. The Blue Devils beat Michigan State there in 2011 to make Krzyzewski the winningest coach in Division I. Four years later, they beat St. John’s there for his 1,000th victory.
Duke capped last season with Krzyzewski’s fifth national championship – second only to John Wooden’s 10 titles at UCLA. The Blue Devils featured three freshmen who became first-round NBA draft picks. The first of Krzyzewski’s titles came in 1991. When the Blue Devils repeated the next season, he became the first coach to win consecutive titles since Wooden.
He has coached his teams to 12 Final Fours, tied for the most in NCAA history. Since 1985, Krzyzewski has an NCAA-record 88 NCAA Tournament victories, 23 more than the next-closest active coach (North Carolina’s Roy Williams) during that time. All but 10 of the 80 players who have completed four years of eligibility at Duke since 1986 have played in the Final Four, with 65 having played in at least one NCAA title game.
Krzyzewski has won two Olympic gold medals as coach of the U.S. team and he will coach the team again in 2016. In 40 seasons as a college coach he has had 64 All-ACC Academic Team selections. He also has raised millions of dollars, bringing awareness to cancer research and literacy programs for young students.
Kyvallos led Queens College to the top of women’s college basketball in its early years. She coached there from 1968-79 and 1980-81, compiling a record of 239-77.
She led Queens to the 1973 AIAW national championship game, losing to Immaculata College in what many consider the game that drew national attention to the women’s game. A rivalry blossomed and in 1975 the schools played at Madison Square Garden before a crowd of about 12,000, welcoming women’s basketball to mainstream sports.
Kyvallos also led the U.S. team to a silver medal at the World University Games in Bulgaria in 1977. She was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Lapchick Award was first presented in 2008. Previous winners include Naismith Hall of Famers Lou Carnesecca, Dean Smith, Pat Summitt, John Thompson Jr., Bob Hurley Sr., Pete Carril, Jody Conradt, Cathy Rush, Morgan Wootten, Pete Newell, C.M. Newton, Don Haskins and Kay Yow.
Photo Courtesy: Duke