Coach K Discusses Leadership and Resilience

Coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke with Dean Bill Boulding in a virtual interview

April 20, 2020

Duke Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski has won more games than any other coach in the history of his division, including five national championships. Krzyzewski, known as Coach K, has also led United States Olympic basketball teams to three gold medals.

Coach K is quick to explain his success isn’t his alone. Instead, his wins are a reflection of how his teams have worked together through the years, especially during challenging times.

“When you keep taking each other with you, then you win. Winning is making the best out of any situation that you are in, in an ethical way.”

Coach K shared those thoughts with Dean Bill Boulding as part of Fuqua’s Distinguished Speaker Series. The interview was conducted virtually to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hour-long discussion spanned a wide variety of topics from the coaches and players that have influenced Coach K, to the staples of personnel development and teamwork that have remained consistent over his four decades at Duke.

The full video can be viewed above. Shorter snippets from the talk are below including why Coach K wants his players to make their own decisions in the moment and how his leadership style has evolved through the years.

Coach K also talked about how he’s staying positive during such a challenging time for the world living through the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s been focusing his energy on encouraging others, including health care workers. Before the talk ended, he did the same for the Fuqua community.     

“Be smart, be safe and be patient. But also be positive. There’s a reason you’re at Fuqua… because you’re smart. You’re talented. And although some plans have been changed, and the world has changed, that’s why you are at Fuqua; to figure it out. Try and figure it out together. The best teachers at times in a school are your classmates, so lean on one another.”

Being Smart in the Moment
Staying Positive
The End of Micromanaging
Lean on One Another

This story may not be republished without permission from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Please contact for additional information.

Contact Info

For more information contact our media relations team at