Tuesday , Jul , 06 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Coach K turns down Lakers, remains at Duke

Mike Krzyzewski has turned down a lucrative contract offer to coach the Los Angeles Lakers, choosing instead to remain at Duke where he has coached the men’s basketball team for 24 years.

Coach K turns down Lakers, remains at Duke

 


He rebuffed the offer Monday after spending the weekend thinking about it, the university said.

“The decision has always been to stay with Duke,” Krzyzewski said at an afternoon press conference. “I feel the need to lead with my heart, and that could only happen at this place. I have benefited greatly from being part of something bigger than me.”

Krzyzewski has compiled a 621-179 mark at Duke and a 694-240 record overall in 29 years of college coaching. He has led the Blue Devils to 64 NCAA tournament victories, 10 Final Four appearances and three national championships.

“I’m very pleased [the process] is over,” the coach said. “I am excited about moving forward.”

University president Richard Brodhead and athletic director Joe Alleva both expressed relief and delight.

“This is a great moment for Duke and all of college athletics,” Brodhead said.

The Lakers have been in search of a head coach since Phil Jackson agreed to leave the team after this past season. They advanced to the NBA Finals for the fourth time under Jackson this year, but lost to the Detroit Pistons in five games. It was the first time in 10 NBA Finals that a Jackson-coached team failed to win a title.

A leading candidate for the job is believed to be former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who has already met with Lakers owner Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak.

Miami Heat president and former Lakers coach Pat Riley also met the Lakers brass. However, he was not offered a deal and was ruled out as a candidate.