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Bennett honors Krzyzewski in Coach K’s final visit to Charlottesville

tony bennett mike krzyzewski
Virginia coach Tony Bennett honors Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski before the teams’ game Wednesday night. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett took the microphone Wednesday evening before the Cavaliers hosted the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils. It was Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final trip to Charlottesville, and Coach Bennett wanted to make sure Coach K knew the impact he had made on the college basketball world.

“I want to take this opportunity, because this is important for me and our team and the rest of us, to acknowledge your monumental contributions to the basketball world,” Bennett said. “Mainly our game in college basketball. Your success is remarkable, and you stood the test of time.”

Bennett then extended the honors to Krzyzewski’s wife, Mickie, who accompanied the team to Charlottesville, wishing them a “blessed retirement.”

holland krzyzewski
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski gets a hug from former Virginia coach Terry Holland before the game Wednesday night. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Bennett and Coach K have been rivals since 2009, when Bennett arrived at UVA from Washington State.

After Wednesday’s loss Bennett is 5-13 against Duke.

In the postgame press conference, Krzyzewski was as congenial as I have ever seen him in my 40 years of observing his postgame comments in Charlottesville.

He was downright likeable. OK, almost.

“Tonight was beautiful,” Krzyzewski said. “It was really very good of Tony (Bennett) to do that. Look, I’m not looking for a farewell tour or anything like that, but this is my last year, and if there’s some way we can celebrate the brotherhood that’s in the game, then that’s a good thing.

“You know, we have all of this stuff going on in the handshake lines and all that, tonight was beautiful. It showed it showed a brotherhood in our league and the respect that programs have for one another and that coaches have for one another, and it meant a great deal to me. What they gave me weighs about 800 pounds. I thought he gave it to me and made me carry it to get a hernia before the game,” Coach K joked.

Bennett said afterward that the gesture was “the right thing to do.”

“I mean, I thought about some remarks right before the game,” Bennett said. “You know, I didn’t know if we were going to do that or not. I appreciated our crowd being classy. His contributions are monumental to the game, to the modern game of basketball and college basketball, and when someone can last that long and do what he’s done, again, it was the right thing to do.”

Story by Scott German

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