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Video: Coach K Criticized After Unnecessary Response To Student Reporter’s Question

It has been strange season for college basketball. A lot of the blue blood programs such as Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Duke are struggling, to say the least.

That isn’t an excuse to take out frustrations on a student reporter, though, which is exactly what Mike Krzyzewski did following Duke’s 70-65 loss to Louisville. The Blue Devils are now 5-5 on the season, and that apparently has Coach K on edge.

When Jake Piazza with the Duke Chronicle’s asked a simple question to Coach K, he was given a condescending speech about not looking ahead. It’s fine to bring that up, but the manner in which Coach K addressed the young reporter was unnecessary.

Look, I’m all for some tough love. Piazza can take how things unfolded as a teaching moment about the business, but the question was fair. Duke is terrible, and the reporter wanted to know what the next step is for Coach K. How do you begin righting the ship?

Instead, he’s told to live in the moment. Don’t be a forward thinker.

Aren’t the most successful people the ones who can move forward? Learn from mistakes, and figure out the best way to make the necessary adjustments. It’s ok to simply say “hey, I don’t really know in this moment … but the bottom line is we got to change something because this isn’t working.”

Boom, question answered. We all move on. Instead, we are once again talking about something controversial Coach K said or did this season.

Now, this isn’t just a Coach K thing. He’s frustrated, and rightfully so. We have seen great coaches in the past, including Nick Saban, Bill Belichick and others, take frustrations out on reporters. That is part of the business, and Piazza needs to understand that.

That doesn’t change the miscalculation from Coach K, however. He clearly knew the one asking the question was a student, and it was a fair ask.

If it wasn’t a fair question, that would be viewed differently. Sometimes, reporters and journalists deserve the verbal lashings they get. They ask absurd questions, and it warrants tough responses. This didn’t feel like one of those moments, though.

Anyways, we did get a response from Piazza on Twitter.

And of course, Coach K’s response has also led to criticism on social media, including fans, media and others. Has the media overreacted? Oh yeah, it always does, but at least some of it is warranted.

Hopefully, this will act as a teaching moment … for the student reporter and Coach K.

Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.

Written by Clint Lamb

Clint Lamb is a College Football Writer for OutKick. Managing Editor for Roll Tide Wire. Sports radio host for The Bullpen on 730/103.9 The UMP. Co-host for The 'Bama Beat podcast through The Tuscaloosa News and TideSports.com.

17 Comments

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  1. I watched the video. I didn’t have a problem with Coach K’s response. More like trying to make a story out of nothing. Or maybe there is so much Cancel Culture out there that it’s rubbing off on Clint. Sorry but you seem like a snowflake with this one. DBAP

  2. Coach K is a scumbag. No one cares about some random kid’s Econ test, but when you are likely the highest paid individual at a university who’s job is to coach basketball and your team is doing poorly it’s a fair question that deserves a respectful response. The dollars from the overpriced tuition that this kid pays contributes to the paying of Coach K’s salary. What a self-absorbed prick.

  3. Independent of this exchange, Coach K is an ass. I’m an IU and Bobby Knight guy, so I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I just think that the media in general covers Coach K with kid gloves while acting like Coach Knight is a bully and a villain. The truth is that they’re basically the same guy. Coach K just pretends better.

  4. I have zero sympathy for journalists. Student or not, journalists don’t have to follow a “moral” guideline like everyone else. Journalists can read and write whatever they want (as the constitution allows) for clicks and recognition, but when a citizen tries to speak freely they get the cancel culture treatment.

  5. My criticism is what a moronic answer it was. Is he really comparing his team of 4 and 5 star recruits playing a game with Louisville to taking in his words “the toughest econ test in the world”? How about this dipshit, I’ll do the evaluating for you: your team is underachieving big time. That was clear long before yesterday’s game, so if you aren’t putting any thought into fixing it maybe you should do all college basketball fans a favor and retire and STFU.

  6. Yeah I’m neither a Coach K nor a media fan…but that’s the Karen Rovell’s and CNNs of the world who are highly financed vs. a student journalist probably doing it for the experience. I’d have more sympathy for the kid especially since this question certainly wasn’t out of bounds in any way.

    Shoot even Belichick pointed out he was more forward thinking after a loss by saying ‘we’re on to Cincinnati’.

  7. Once upon a time K was actually a pretty tolerable guy, but he’s become a caricature. Duke’s women’s team shut their season down a few weeks ago, look for the men’s team to possibly do the same or for Coach K to have another back surgery cue’d up. He lost whatever soul he had left when he decided to chase the 1 and done kids who couldn’t pass 7th grade on their own.

  8. I was a student journalist at San Diego State in the early to mid ’80s, for both the Daily Aztec and for KCR student radio. (And then I was a print reporter and editor for the next 30 years after that, before becoming a recovering journalist.) My advice to Coach K would be this: You are a faculty member, and that reporter is a student first. Behave accordingly.

    Having said that, in my experience, the coaches at SDSU invariably treated the student media better than the humanities faculty ever did. Any time we did a feature story or review on a theatrical production, a concert, a poetry reading, we had a 50-50 chance of getting a scalding response from one of the profs involved telling us what idiots we were. Whenever that happened, I remember I always hoped that when I was a 50-something professional I wouldn’t be screaming at 18-year-olds. So far, so good.

  9. (1). The person ‘in the arena’ is always justified in calling out the critic. We’re brutal in our assessment of players and coaches, why should the media get a free pass? If they’re gonna dish it out they need to be able to take it.

    (2). It does underscore that Coach K has a lot of his mentor—Bob Knight—in him. Not a bad thing necessarily, but wow has the media protected/venerated him for a long time. I kinda like seeing the real Mike K on display.

  10. Would have loved it if this kid responded without missing a beat. “Well, Coach, if that happened to me, assuming I didn’t feel good about this hypothetical test you speak of, I probably would say that next time I need to study harder, prepare better and be focused so that this doesn’t happen again. Is that how you feel about this loss, or is this follow-up question upset you, too?” Kid would be a legend. Could work for any media publication in the country. Next time, kid.

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