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Rivalry aside -North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a UNC alum, honors Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Aside from the intense college basketball competition, recently retired Duke University coach Mike Krzewski was presented with the state’s highest honor Thursday by Gov. Roy Cooper, a two-time University of North Carolina graduate. I was.

Cooper eschewed his favorite tarheel blue tie for a darker Duke hue, holding a ceremony to award Kuzyszewski with the Order of the Nagabamatsu, vowing to “help others be the best” on and off the court. I dedicated my life to it,” he said. Coach K. He came to Durham in 1980 and accepted the job.

“I’m a Carolina fan, a born and raised Tar Heel, etc. I never pretend I’m not,” the Democratic governor said at an outdoor event attended by dozens of officials, Duke alumni and fans. He spoke at a ceremony at the Government House. “You must be honest with yourself, but you must also be able to see through your own prejudices and not only recognize greatness, but also appreciate it.”

Krzyzewski retired as head coach after losing in the Final Four to UNC-Chapel Hill in April in the first NCAA tournament meeting between schools eight miles away. Cooper, who attended the game in New Orleans, did not comment on the outcome at Thursday’s event.

The Hall of Famer is the winningest coach in college basketball with 1,202 wins. His Duke his team won his five NCAA titles, and under his leadership as head coach of his team at the Olympics, the United States won his three consecutive gold medals. . He coached his nine National Players of the Year and 38 All-Americans at Duke University.

Krzyzewski and his wife are also known for their philanthropic work for health care and education, including founding a community center in honor of their late mother. Cooper also noted how Kuzyszewski recently spoke out against inaction by politicians after mass gun violence.

“His influence on basketball, his influence on Duke University, his influence on Durham and our state will last forever,” said Wake County Senate Majority Leader Dan Blue.

Krzyzewski said it was “a great honor” for the governor to receive the award, which was created in the 1960s to honor exemplary state service. Recipients receive a “special privilege” to propose the official toast of the state “anywhere in the free world.”

Krzyzewski joked that the event “brought out the best” in Cooper. Even the Governor’s dog, Violet, wore a collar engraved with the Duke’s name in the garden.

“Governor Cooper is a Duke fan today,” Coach K said, emphasizing what unites North Carolina residents.

“Whether you’re a Duke fan or a Carolina fan or someone who really doesn’t care about either, by the way there are a lot of people who don’t care about either, but we all , shares a common thread: the bond of being a North Carolinian,” he said, adding that his family “will continue to do everything they can to make this state the best it can be.” .

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