Ask any coach to name the top 10 coaches in college football and basketball, and every single one of them will mention Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski’s name.
Duke has recently hit a rough patch in their schedule, losing four of their past seven games (including uncharacteristic losses to Virginia Tech, Florida State, Louisville, and NC State) after starting the season on a tear where they won 12 of their first 13 games.
Coach K has missed the last five games of the season, and the reigns have been handed to assistant coach Jeff Capel as Krzyzewski recovers from some major back surgery. The Blue Devils are 2-3 over that span.
According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, coach K invited players over to his house for a team meeting earlier this week as he continues to mend from that back surgery. While there, he informed players that they’ve been kicked out of the locker room, and also forbidden to wear Blue Devils apparel. It’s apparently a motivational tactic that he’s used before in his coaching career.
The ESPN article points out that the sanctions will be in place “until they start living up to the standards of the Duke program.”
The message being sent is clearly to earn everything, and a number of college football programs have adopted the same mantra over the past few years, as you can see on the walls of Kansas’ new facility, and the same message can be found on at Michigan State’s facility as well.
A few weeks ago, Randy Jackson of Grapevine HS (TX) shared a similar approach on the Beyond the Whistle segment of the FootballScoop Podcast where every off season players had to actually earn their way into the varsity locker room.
A lot of college basketball programs would love to be sitting at 15-5 right now like Duke, but coach K has developed a set of standards where that’s not good enough, and he’s found a unique way to communicate that to players that other coaches should take note of.