CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, angry over what he perceived as a lack of crowd control while his Blue Devils tried to leave the court following Thursday’s loss at Virginia, traded F-bombs with at least one fan and had to be restrained by security before being ushered into his locker room.
As students and fans at John Paul Jones Arena stormed the court after the Cavaliers’ 73-68 win over the No. 3 team in the nation, there was no rope line giving Duke’s players, coaches and personnel a path to get off the court, leaving them to fight their way through the crowd with aid from only a couple of security guards and a local policeman. The 66-year-old Krzyzewski stopped and hollered an F-bomb at a fan before security could drag him away. Right behind the Hall of Fame coach were his players, some cursing at fans, some ignoring it and ducking into the hallway. Assistant coach Jeff Capel went back and yelled a few curse words while another assistant coach, Steve Wojciechowski, did his best to quickly usher players into the safe area.
“Whatever you’re doing, you need to get the team off first,” Krzyzewski said about 15 minutes later in the postgame news conference. “Look, celebrate, have fun, obviously you won, that’s cool. Just get our team off the court, and our coaching staff, before the students come on. “Do you know how close you are to… Just put yourself in the position of one of our players or coaches, and I’m not saying any fan did this, but the potential is there all the time. But they can just go up to you and say, ‘Coach, you’re a …’ or push you or hit you or whatever. What do you do?”
“What if you did something (in retaliation)? That would be the story, right? We deserve that type of protection. I’m always concerned about stuff like that, especially at this time of year. What if that happened and we get a kid suspended and that becomes the national story? It’s not all fun and games when people are running onto the court, especially for the team that lost. “They should have fun and burn benches and do all the stuff … I’m all for that. They are a great school, great kids, but get us off the court, and that’s the bottom line.”
Krzyzewski brushed off his confrontation with the fan. “We always get yelled at,” he said. “I’ve been called more things, about my mother or my kids; that’s something that’s happened for 25 years. That means nothing. Safety is something, and that’s what I’m talking about.”
Is there anything scarier than being on the losing team when the home crowd storms the court? Thousands of hammered drunk college kids fired up from a huge win with adrenaline and hatred for you coursing through their veins running at you full speed? Just spent the last couple hours screaming at you telling you how much you suck and now they have a chance to come face to face with you with no security? Got to be scary shit. Loose cannons coming at you from all angles. Now imagine if you’re Duke? Probably like 1000000X worse. Like the most hated sports team on the planet. The team everyone on Earth aside from the Duke student body and DrNoiseWater absolutely loves to hate. As Plumlee said getting tweets 24/7 from people saying they’re going to punch them in the dick or dropkick them or slit their throat if they ever see them. Now those people are sprinting at you full speed in a stampede situation. What do you do? So yeah it’s easy to be a tough guy and tell Coach K to suck it up and stop whining and deal with it but I can respect the fact that you kind of got to give the kids at least a little bit of protection from a literal gang mob of souped up rival fans. I mean if the entire Duke team gets stabbed and trampled to death who are we all supposed to rally around hating?