RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Mike Krzyzewski is staying at Duke, ending talks with the Los Angeles Lakers about becoming their coach. The school said Monday
that Krzyzewski had informed the Lakers of his decision. An afternoon news conference on campus was scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.
Krzyzewski, who has led Duke to three national titles in his 24 years at the school, met with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak on Thursday to
discuss the team's coaching vacancy, one of the NBA's showcase positions. Even Lakers star Kobe Bryant was reportedly involved in trying to persuade
Coach K to take the job.
The Lakers had no immediate comment Monday on the decision by Krzyzewski, who signed a lifetime contract with Duke three years ago. The Lakers have
been searching for a new coach since June 18, when coach Phil Jackson stepped down three days after an NBA Finals loss to Detroit.
The Los Angeles Times and ESPN reported that Krzyzewski was offered the job, but Lakers officials had refused comment. Kenny Randolph, father of Duke
forward Shavlik Randolph, said Krzyzewski told him in a phone call late Monday morning that he would stay with the Blue Devils.
"He just basically said the thing sort of ballooned out of proportion and that he appreciated our friendship and confidence, and that he'd remain
Randolph said. "And that's all that had to be said. "I told him, 'Gosh, coach. I've got chill bumps.' And he said, 'I do, too.'
The 57-year-old Krzyzewski has a 621-181 record at Duke, leading the Blue Devils to championships in 1991, 1992 and 2001. Under Krzyzewski, the Blue
Devils have 10 Final Four appearances, eight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships and 10 conference regular-season titles. His Duke
teams have been ranked No. 1 in 12 seasons, including each of the last seven.
Gary Melchionni, father of junior Lee Melchionni and a former Duke basketball player, expressed relief that Krzyzewski will try to add to his
impressive Duke resume.
"That's great news,"
Melchionni said. "I just want him to get back to work."
Krzyzewski has had several flirtations with the NBA and has said he came close to leaving Duke in 1990 to coach the Boston Celtics. Following the loss
to the Pistons, the Lakers said Jackson wouldn't return. Jackson, who signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Lakers in June 1999, guided
them to championships in his first three seasons.
Former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich has been considered a front-runner to succeed Jackson. He has met with team owner Jerry Buss and Kupchak. Former
Lakers coach Pat Riley, an executive with the Miami Heat, also met with Buss and Kupchak, but issued a statement saying he wasn't a candidate. Others
mentioned have been Kurt Rambis and Jim Cleamons, members of Jackson's staff.
But the Lakers appeared most interested in trying to lure Krzyzewski from Duke, a private school where basketball has a rabid following among the
6,300 students. The Cameron Indoor Stadium hardwood is named "Coach K Court." Outside the arena, a sign designates the grassy plot where students camp
out to attend games as "Krzyzewskiville," where the coach has been known to occasionally buy pizzas for the waiting "Cameron Crazies."
After the Lakers' interest became known, Duke officials said they were open to improving Krzyzewski's contract. John Burness, Duke's senior vice
president for public and government relations, said Monday the university has spoken with Krzyzewski about the contract "and it's reasonable to assume
some modifications will be made." He would not elaborate.
Burness said the Lakers' effort to land Krzyzewski was nothing new at Duke.
"We have some of the most outstanding academic people in the world, and we have to address the fact that other leading institutions try to raid us
"We realize that when we have the best people ... they'll always be in high demand."