THE PLANK OCTOBER 19, 2007
It's mid-October, which means college basketball teams are allowed to practice--and Coach K is allowed to rip off gullible businessmen. From Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn's account of a visit to a recent Duke practice:
Video review is a normal part of the Blue Devils' routine, but what is abnormal on this October Tuesday is that Coach K has a wireless mic clipped to his black Duke polo shirt, and his voice is being projected into Cameron's upper level, where approximately 250 businesspeople are sitting in on what would otherwise be a closed practice. They have all paid between $1,350 and $1,600 to attend this week's Fuqua School of Business & Coach K Leadership Conference, a three-day event that includes not only this practice but also a gala dinner and speech by Krzyzewski, who's listed on its Web site as both Duke's head coach and "Executive-in-Residence, Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics."Time and travel constraints prevent me from making preseason visits to all 336 Division I schools. But I'm pretty sure this is the only program whose coach's profile has transcended sport to the extent that one of his practices is now doubling as a corporate seminar.
I think anyone who has stock in the companies that pay to send their employees to Coach K's little seminar should raise hell at the next shareholder's meeting. But maybe that's just the Carolina fan in me talking.
Speaking of which, it should be noted that UNC Coach Roy Williams also charges admission to watch one of his practices--but the price of admission is $65.00, not over $1,000, and the attendees are high school basketball coaches, not Masters of the Universe. But I guess that's just because Old Roy isn't a "leader who happens to coach basketball." Ah, I'm glad college hoops season is finally here.