To start, Mike Krzyzewski is the reason Duke is always near the top of the crop. Coach K took over the Blue Devils in 1980 and hasn’t looked back since. He became the winningest coach in the history of men’s NCAA basketball in 2011 and has single-handedly made Duke one of the best teams every year. Whether it’s the five championships he has coached the Blue Devils to (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015) or Coach K’s ridiculous 12 Final Four appearances, he has become to college basketball what Bear Bryant was to college football.
Sure, Duke wasn’t a powerhouse before Krzyzewski arrived in Durham, but it has been ever since. More than a few former and current National Basketball Association players have played for Coach K — Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, and Shane Battier, to name a few — and prospered under his tutelage. This is a trend that will continue as long as Krzyzewski keeps doing what he’s doing: win. The Blue Devils last missed the NCAA tournament in 1995, which says enough about their dominance these past few decades.
And, in 2015, Duke won again. Other programs may have more titles, but Coach K’s monolithic presence is unrivaled in the NCAA and for that, we have to give his school top honors.