Coach K and the Carolinas: Storming the ACC
“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do, two can be as bad as one, it’s the loneliest number since the number one…” Three Dog Night’s popular song sounds like the soundtrack to Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s life at the moment. The Duke Blue Devils again found themselves the cause of a court storming.
Against an underappreciated Virginia Cavaliers team, the Blue Devils fell to 11-4 in the ACC and gave the Miami Hurricanes a guaranteed share of the ACC regular season crown. A situation that I am sure aggravated the competitive Coach K. Things were good in Virginia until Krzyzewski’s post-game press conference.
It appears Coach K is tired of having court-stormings after his team loses on the road. When asked by reporters from the Raleigh News and Observer after the game Coach K said, “Look, do you know how close you are to – just put yourself in the position of one of our players or coaches, I’m not saying any fan did this, but the potential is there all the time for a fan to just go up to you and say, ‘Coach you’re a (expletive),’ or push you or hit you.” Coach K was upset that his players and coaching staff were not cleared from the floor before the fans were allowed on. In one aspect we can agree with Coach K, most fans that storm the court are college students. What do college students do? Stupid things.
It is very likely that a fan of an opposing team could injure or threaten a player. But on the other hand, I’d like to see Coach K swear in front of a Grand Jury that his Cameron Crazies have never sworn at an opposing team’s coach. I’m sure Roy Williams could give some evidence to the contrary. Also, video and photo evidence from after the game clearly shows the University of Virginia event staff forming a protective barrier around the team and coaches. But once again, since Coach K is complaining, the whole conference is ready to bow down.
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has traditionally been a Carolina centered conference. To be fair, most of its history and great moments have involved a school from the Carolinas. But in recent years it has become more and more apparent that the ACC powers are sometimes blind to the other schools in the league. For example, the Men’s ACC Basketball Tournament will be held in a Carolina city six times out of the last nine by 2015. The only other two states to host a tournament since 2007 are Florida and Georgia. The ACC needs to realize the conference has other teams not called Duke and UNC.
What is stopping the conference from putting the tournament in Boston? The TD Center can be rented out for a four-day period; Madison Square Garden allows the Big East tourney to go on for a week! Or why not Florida? A new stadium in Orlando and a thriving social scene in South Beach would be welcomed venues for a tournament, and two ACC schools reside in the state. What’s going to happen when Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Louisville join the conference? Is the ACC really planning on bringing all those schools with rich basketball history to one of the Carolinas every year simply because it is tradition?
Football is going the same way. Since 2010, the ACC Championship game has not moved out of Charlotte, NC. There are certainly other usable venues to have the football game. Tampa, New England, New York, Ohio, and Maryland all have large stadiums in cities with plenty of hotel space. The ACC needs to get out from under a Carolina thumb.
In following of President Obama’s comments during a press conference on the sequester, I too will make a Star Wars reference. Who is the emperor of the Carolina Empire? None other than Coach K. Since the exit of Dean Smith in 1997, the ACC has been influenced by the other famous name on Tobacco Road. In less than a day since Coach K’s press conference, the ACC announced it would look into court storming safety and would consider an SEC-like ban on the post-game ritual. (The SEC has banned court storming since 2004). *Insert whip sound here* But maybe we should wonder why Krzyzewski is suddenly complaining now. It could be that the old Coach is tired of being the villain and the victim of every team’s best shot. Or maybe in a season where the Blue Devils have been court-rushed four times, he has finally had enough. It is clear, however, that Coach K rules this conference in basketball, and the Carolinas rule it in everything else.
So maybe with the influx of new teams, the ACC will wake up and realize it’s time to ban Coach K and Carolina from storming the league.