Essay, 3 pages (550 words)

Coach k vs. coach knight essay

Coach K and Coach Knight both have very different coaching styles. One shows a softer side to coaching, while the other believes in tough love. They both have very successful careers, illustrated by many wins in college basketball. But these different coaching styles lead one to ask, which is the most effective? Mike Kryzewski (aka Coach K) has been the head coach of the Duke University’s basketball team since 1980.

During this time he has lead his team with trust, respect, and close ties. He takes the time to understand his players, where they are coming from, and helps them get where they need to be. He believes in close communication and using eye contact to judge people’s feelings and let them see how he is feeling as well. He fosters very close relationships with players, inviting them to family dinners and is not afraid to tell the team he loves them.

But he is not always so soft; there is another side to Coach K. He can be tough on his players if the situation drives him to be (players not showing respect for the program, team, or university). But he doesn’t use fear as his motivator, he knows when the situation calls for him to be tough and when not to be. His coaching style is vastly different from his former coach, Bobby Knight. Coach Knight was the head coach at Indiana University from 1971-2000. During this time the team enjoyed many wins, including three NCAA championships.

However, his coaching style was very controversial and eventually led to his termination from the university. Coach Knight believed in hard work and preparation for games. He demanded nothing but the best from his players and pushed them to strive for excellence. He did not play favorites among players, and did not tolerate egos or slacking off. As a motivational tool, he was known to use profanity and intimidation.

He also displayed indications of a fiery temper, which he dismissed as passion. In an infamous incident at a 1985 game against Purdue, Knight threw a chair across the court after an official made, what he believed to be, a bad call. Then in 2000, several former players came forward and accused Knight of verbal and physical abuse. This lead to a formal investigation by Indiana’s Board of Trustees, and resulted in a zero-tolerance policy regarding inappropriate behavior.

Only four short months later, Coach Knight was involved in another incident of verbal and physical abuse, and was fired from his job. While Coach K and Coach Knight had very different coaching styles, they both shared the same rule for their teams, don’t do anything detrimental to the team, the school, or yourself. And they both proved that their different coaching styles could produce great teams. However, Coach Knight’s style cost him his job at Indiana University, while Coach K’s style lead to a job offer as head coach of the Lakers. I think that both of the coach’s styles are highly effective (look at their win records), but I think Coach K’s is the best.

He seems to be able to balance between a tough and soft side, and gains the respect of his players. He is portrayed in the media as a wonderful coach, while Coach Knight is portrayed as a hot-head maniac. This portrayal does not gain the respect of people, which I think is an important quality for people to see in a leader.

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