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Coach K Breaks His Silence

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski held a press conference yesterday and spoke out for the first time on the lacrosse case. Here is a partial transcript of his remarks:

On keeping low media profile during the spring: I think it is important for me to remember my place. I am the basketball coach. I am not the president, I am not the athletic director and I am not on the board of trustees. You have to be careful not to make statements outside of your realm. However, behind the scenes, I have tried to be very supportive of our athletic department, the coaches, the players, our president and the board of trustees. To me, the real story about this spring, without talking about the case because you have to let that run its course, is the community. I love our community because for the last few months, a number of people who have come into our community and raised a lot of questions, which they are entitled to do, that could have provoked things that where not a part of this situation. Our community is so darn good that they did not allow it. I don't look at this being a white community, an African American community, a Hispanic community, I look at this being a great Durham community. The students at the two universities [North Carolina Central and Duke] should be applauded.

I do think for us as a university, we have to always be mindful of the fact of the major reason we are here is because of our students. We have to give our students support in whatever situation, you have to be there to support them, to give them guidance and to just to be there and say 'We are with you.'. That is what I have tried to do behind the scenes. Giving support does not mean you are choosing sides, giving support is what a university should do whether it be at North Carolina Central, Duke, Forham, Illinois or Army. We are in the kid business and that is what I have tried to do behind the scenes.

I don't like the remarks that attack athletics, not just at Duke but anywhere and I think that the people that do that are very narrow-minded in the total scope of what a university or college does. All of the coaches that coach here are teachers. I write about 100 lesson plans a year and they are different ones than the ones I used the year before. I then have a chance to coach games and all that, but we teach more than coach a game. We know our students very well and the lessons that are learned on the court compliment the lessons that are learned in the classroom, because it should be unified effort in an educational process.

At the U.S. Military academy where I went to school, it [athletics] was a way of learning about teamwork, about spirit, about how to handle success and failure, how to be a complimentary player, a star player, how to be loyal, how to communicate in a frenzied moment, how to communicate to show compassion. In other words, it's a crucible of real life things, that's what sports do and to learn those lessons while you're getting this education that you get, the great education that you get in an English classroom, in math or whatever it is, that combination is total education.

We have many great graduates of this university who participated in intercollegiate athletics who are running major corporations, who are operating on people, who are defending people, who are counseling people, and to say that intercollegiate athletics is not an integral part of any university is so ridiculously wrong. It is so narrow-minded and I'm glad that our administration and our board of trustees recognize this.

On Coach K's behind the scenes support:
I have just tried to add support, whether it be just saying to my athletic director 'I'm with you' or to my president, 'What can I do.' With our lacrosse coach [Mike Pressler] and his wife, who are beautiful people, whether it's taking them out to eat or having them over to our house. We have done those things and we are proud of them. The Presslers are our dear friends.

I don't know what Mike Pressler did wrong in this case, whether he's judged in a whole other thing that's another matter. He is a good man. My feeling is that he is here 16 years, his players, former players and families swear by him. As far as my friendship with him, he is going be my friend.