“We’re going to give him a little presentation and something for winning 1,000 games,” UNC head coach Roy Williams told reporters at the close of press conference. “That’s an unbelievable accomplishment.”
The ceremony will occur after the national anthem and prior to the starting lineup announcements.
The rivals honored the passing of legendary UNC head coach Dean Smith prior to their first meeting at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 18 with a group huddle at midcourt accompanied by a moment of silence.
“This is a big-time rivalry, but I loved it over at their place when both teams got together at the centerline at the start of the game in honor of Coach Smith,” Williams said. “That was a neat deal to me. That was one of the neatest moments I’ve ever had, so we’re going to try to give him a broken rabbit’s foot or something before the game tomorrow for winning 1,000 games.”
Krzyzewski became the first Division I men’s coach to reach 1,000 wins in Duke’s 77-68 victory over St. John’s on Jan. 25.
The UNC-Duke rivalry is widely considered as the top rivalry in college athletics. Such joint displays of appreciation only further that notion and add to the uniqueness of the rivalry.
“It just shows the respect that both of our programs have for each other,” junior forward Brice Johnson said. “They showed a lot of respect with the passing of Coach Smith and we’re going to show a little respect for Coach K’s 1,000 wins. That is a really big deal. It takes you awhile to get to 1,000 wins. Coach Williams has been coaching for awhile and he’s not there yet.”
Honoring an opposing coach, specifically the head coach of a hated rival, on Senior Night will undoubtedly prompt a level of blowback from the fan base. Williams attempted to head off those concerns with comments directed toward the Smith Center crowd on Friday.
“I think our crowd will really be good, too,” Williams said. “I think they will handle it really, really well because over there at their place their crowd was sensational in trying to honor Coach Smith. There’s nothing wrong with cheering as enthusiastically as you can, being a fanatic for your team. And I thought that’s what their people did over there during the course of the game, but they still honored Coach Smith before the game and I’m hoping that our crowd will do the same thing here. I think it’s a wonderful accomplishment.
“Whatever he has now, if he has 1,012 or whatever, I hope like crap he doesn’t add one more tomorrow.”
UNC to Honor Coach K's 1,000 Wins
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