INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – Uniting the legacies of two fierce rivals who became close friends, former Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has been named the recipient of the 2022-23 Dean Smith Award by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, recognizing an individual in basketball who embodies the spirit and values of the late Coach Smith.
The award will be presented to Krzyzewski on May 6 at the Emily Krzyzewski Center’s annual Mother’s Day Ball at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club.
“Honoring Coach K with this award not only recognizes his accomplishments on and off the court but brings full circle the story of his relationship with Dean Smith, from rivals to peers to friends,” said USBWA president Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer. “This is the highest honor the USBWA can bestow on a coach, and in this case it speaks to the fierce competitiveness and vision transcending basketball that Smith and Krzyzewski shared.”
The Dean Smith Award was created by the USBWA in 2015 to honor the late Hall of Fame coach at North Carolina. Coaches are recognized for their principles of honesty and integrity, for treating all people with courtesy and respect, for accomplishments off the court, and for the impact they have made on their community and the lives of their players.
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive his award,” Krzyzewski said. “I think I knew Dean, outside of the North Carolina family, as well as anyone, as a competitor and as a friend. There’s just been nobody like him. And the program he built has stood the test of time.”
Previous award winners include John Thompson (Georgetown) in 2015, Tom Izzo (Michigan State) in 2016, Don Donoher (Dayton) in 2017, Fran Dunphy (Penn/Temple/La Salle) in 2018, Bob McKillop (Davidson) in 2019, George Raveling (Washington State/Iowa/USC) in 2020 and Tubby Smith (Tulsa/Georgia/Kentucky/Minnesota/Texas Tech/Memphis/High Point) in 2021.
McKillop and Smith will be presented with their awards on April 11 at the Tanger Center in Greensboro in an event co-hosted by the Greensboro Sports Council.
While Krzyzewski’s success on the court is unquestioned – five national titles and a record 1,202 wins at Army and Duke – his contributions to Duke, the Durham community and beyond are equally impressive. He was a founding member of the V Foundation’s board of directors and hosts an annual wine tasting that has raised more than $100 million for the foundation. Krzyzewski has also been an avid supporter of Duke Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Miracle Network, Coaches vs. Cancer and the Brain Tumor Center at Duke.
Most personal to him, in 2006 Krzyzewski founded the Emily Krzyzewski Center in honor of his late mother, which supports more than 2,000 Durham public-school students annually and has helped hundreds attend college who might not have otherwise.
As his daughter Jamie Spatola said in 2022, “I don’t think basketball is his gift or his legacy. Basketball was the vehicle.”
Since his retirement in 2022, Krzyzewski has served as an ambassador for Duke University while continuing to host his Sirius XM radio show, “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K.”
Over the course of 47 seasons, Krzyzewski became the preeminent coach in college basketball, with 13 Final Four appearances and 15 ACC championships to go with his five national titles. He also led USA Basketball to three Olympic gold medals, in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Emily K Center’s Mother’s Day Ball honors Durham students and the center with an evening of celebration at the Washington Duke. Tickets for the event are available at www.emilyk.org/mothers-day-ball.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.