Archive for March 13th, 2010

The Poignant Story Behind Coach K’s Lapel Pin

March 13, 2010

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski

I was touched by this story about friendship, basketball and tragedy by Andy Katz, a senior writer for It’s nice to read about the human side of celebrities. Mike Krzyzewski, known to sports fans as Coach K, is the longtime coach of the Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team. He is also coach of the United States men’s national basketball team, which he led to a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

A pin on Coach K’s lapel serves as a symbol of a strong bond, forged through tragedy

Mike Krzyzewski and Ross Deutsch first met in 1997 at a basketball camp in Las Vegas (courtesy of the Duetsch family)

When Ross Deutsch read the advertisement, it seemed too good to be true.

For a fee, he could go to Las Vegas with some friends and attend Michael Jordan’s Flight School, essentially a summer camp for basketball-crazed adults. It was a place to live out one’s hardwood fantasies for a few days and receive instruction from NBA and college coaches, Hall of Famers among them.

It was 1997, and Deutsch was working in the financial world in Chicago. He was 36; he had the money and an interested friend; and his wife, Mindy, had no objection. He was certainly passionate about basketball and, as a Chicago native, had a love for all things Michael Jordan. He had three young sons — Rory was the oldest at 6; Robbie and Rickey were younger — but it was for only a few days, and besides, what kid wouldn’t get a kick out of his dad playing hoops for a few days as though he were a star?

A few days later, Ross and his (more…)