Coach K On Leadership, Success, and Teamwork | Mike Krzyzewski Quotes

motivational quotes Dec 12, 2023
coach k quotes

Inspirational Coach K quotes:

Coach Mike Krzyzewski, also known as Coach K, is a former american basketball coach and legendary figure in the world of college basketball.

He is the winningest coach in NCAA history having won 1,202 games throughout his 42 seasons as coach at Duke University.

During that time, he also led the Blue Devils to 15 ACC Tournament championships, 13 Final Four appearances and 5 NCAA championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, and 2015). 

Coach K's influence also reaches beyond Duke University to the international stage. He served as the head coach of the United States men's national team where he led Team USA to gold medals at the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympic Games, as well as the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships.

Mike Krzyzewski is known for his exceptional leadership skills, mentorship, and ability to develop players both athletically and personally.

Many of his former players have gone on to have successful careers in the NBA and credit Coach K for their growth and development.

He focused on building strong relationships with his players, emphasizing teamwork, discipline, and a commitment to excellence which you will see through the following collection of quotes.

Get inspired with these quotes by Mike Krzyzewski, one of the greatest coaches in basketball history.

You also might like:

• 73 Coach John Wooden Quotes And Sayings  >>

• Jayson Tatum On Kobe, Confidence, Work Ethic, & Basketball >>

• 50 Best Coach Pat Summitt Quotes >>



Coach K Quotes On Leadership and Coaching

“I get a group of people who are talented to commit to excellence and to work together as one. That’s where it starts. Different talents, same commitment.”

“We’ve created a jealous-free zone… We look each other in the eye. We tell each other the truth. And we trust each other.”

“Don’t take your culture for granted. There needs to be a constant renewal of values that lead to camaraderie.”

“I try to see each new season as a new challenge because I have a new team to work with, new opponents to encounter, and often new ideas and theories to try.”



“A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportional amount of time on “x’s and o’s” as compared to time spent learning about people.”

“People have to be given the freedom to show the heart they possess. I think it’s a leader’s responsibility to provide that type of freedom. And I believe it can be done through relationships and family. Because if a team is a real family, its members want to show you their hearts.”

“During critical periods, a leader is not allowed to feel sorry for himself, to be down, to be angry, or to be weak. Leaders must beat back these emotions.”

“Leaders have to give time for relationships. But more demands will be placed on their time as they become more successful. So if a person’s success is based on developing relationships, then they have to continually find new ways of getting it done.”

"That's what I do now: I lead and I teach. If we win basketball games from doing that, then that's great, but I lead and teach. Those are the two things I concentrate on."

“During the season, your team should be led with exuberance and excitement. You should live the journey. You should live it right. You should live it together. You should live it shared. You should try to make one another better. You should get on one another if somebody’s not doing their part. You should hug one another when they are. You should be disappointed in a loss and exhilarated in a win. It’s all about the journey.”

“Throughout the season, I look into my players’ eyes to gauge feelings, confidence levels, and to establish instant trust.”

“Every leader needs to remember that a healthy respect for authority takes time to develop. It’s like building trust. You don’t instantly have trust, it has to be earned.”

“In leadership, there are no words more important than trust. In any organization, trust must be developed among every member of the team if success is going to be achieved.”



“I don’t look at myself as a basketball coach. I look at myself as a leader who happens to coach basketball.”

“Too many rules get in the way of leadership. They just put you in a box... People set rules to keep from making decisions.”

“The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions. Not me. I don’t want to be a manager or a dictator. I want to be a leader—and leadership is ongoing, adjustable, flexible, and dynamic. As such, leaders have to maintain a certain amount of discretion.”

“When a leader takes responsibility for his own actions and mistakes, he not only sets a good example, he shows a healthy respect for people on his team.”

“Discipline is doing what you are supposed to do in the best possible manner at the time you are supposed to do it.”

“A leader may be the most knowledgeable person in the world, but if the players on his team cannot translate that knowledge into action, it means nothing.”

“Erect no artificial walls that might limit potential, stifle creativity, or shackle innovation.”

“Leaders should be reliable without being predictable. They should be consistent without being anticipated.”

“A leader has to be positive about all things that happen to his team. Look at nothing in the past as failure.”

“Leaders show respect for people by giving them time.”



"Courage gives a leader the ability to stand straight and not sway no matter which way the wind blows."  

“Courage and confidence are what decision making is all about.”

“Encourage members of your team to take the initiative and act on their own.”

"There are kids don't want to do something because they're afraid of looking stupid to their peers. There comes a time when they start protecting themselves, instead of extending. I want to make sure that they're always trying to extend themselves."

"Each group and each youngster is different. As a leader or coach, you get to know what they need."

"The thing I loved the most - and still love the most about teaching - is that you can connect with an individual or a group, and see that individual or group exceed their limits."

"Leaders have to search for the heart of a team because the person who has it can bring out the best in everybody else."

"A leader's responsibility to his team is paramount."

More quotes: 24 Motivational Basketball Quotes to Build Confidence  >>



Best Quotes From Coach K On Success and Winning

“When you are passionate, you always have your destination in sight and you are not distracted by obstacles. Because you love what you are pursuing, things like rejection and setbacks will not hinder you in your pursuit. You believe that nothing can stop you!”

“When you cleanse yourself of a big victory, you may open yourself up to the opportunity for an even bigger victory.”



"My hunger is not for success, it is for excellence. Because when you attain excellence, success just naturally follows."

“I believe God gave us crises for some reason—and it certainly wasn’t for us to say that everything about them is bad. A crisis can be a momentous time for a team to grow — if a leader handles it properly.”

"In high school, in sport, I had a coach who told me I was much better than I thought I was, and would make me do more in a positive sense. He was the first person who taught me not to be afraid of failure."

"Imagination has a great deal to do with winning."

"Everybody wants to take responsibility when you win, but when you fail, all these fingers are pointing."

"I think some parents now look at a youngster failing as the final thing. It's a process, and failure is part of the process. I would like it if the teacher and the parents would connect more. I think that used to be, but we're losing a little bit of that right now."



"I've tried to handle winning well, so that maybe we'll win again, but I've also tried to handle failure well. If those serve as good examples for teachers and kids, then I hope that would be a contribution I have made to sport. Not just basketball, but to sport."

"When you win, sometimes it overshadows a poor performance."

"Champions play as they practice. Create a consistency of excellence in all your habits."

Guided Meditation: Pregame Guided Meditation For Basketball Players >>



Mike Krzyzewski Quotes About Teamwork

“Everyone’s ideas should be heard. It doesn’t matter who gets credit. As long as you’re working towards the same mission and shared purpose.”

“Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication.”

“Communication does not always occur naturally, even among a tight-knit group of individuals. Communication must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one.”



"To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless."

“In our program, the truth is the basis of all that we do. There is nothing more important than the truth because there’s nothing more powerful than the truth. Consequently, on our team, we always tell one another the truth. We must be honest with one another. There is no other way.”

“Mutual commitment helps overcome the fear of failure—especially when people are part of a team sharing and achieving goals. It also sets the stage for open dialogue and honest conversation.”

“When you first assemble a group, it’s not a team right off the bat. It’s only a collection of individuals.”

“Visualize a wagon wheel as a complete team. A leader might be the hub of the wheel at the center. Now suppose the spokes are the connecting relationships the leader is building with people on the outer rim of the wheel. If the hub is removed, then the entire wheel collapses. In a situation like that, if a team loses the leader, the entire team collapses.”

“Goals should be realistic, attainable, and shared among all members of the team.”



“Two are better than one if two act as one.”

“There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride. I like to think of each as a separate finger on the fist. Any one individually is important. But all of them together are unbeatable.”

“You develop a team to achieve what one person cannot accomplish alone. All of us alone are weaker, by far, than if all of us are together.”

“People want to be on a team. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be in a situation where they feel that they are doing something for the greater good.”

"A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That's how I want you to play.

You might like: How to Mentally Prepare For a Basketball Game (5-Step Routine) >>



Best Mike Krzyzewski Quotes On Basketball

“Your heart has to be in whatever you lead. It became apparent that this decision was somewhat easier to make because you have to follow your heart and lead with it and Duke has always taken up my whole heart… The allure of coaching in college has no price. It’s one of those priceless things. I’ve never made a decision based on what will get me the most money. It was what was going to give me the most happiness and I’ve been really happy and fulfilled at Duke.”

“When my relationship with Duke was put up against my relationship with a storied franchise, I found myself even more committed to what Duke has.”

“Turning down the Lakers was tough, but it is always good to renew your vows to the loves of your life.”



"With me and basketball, it became part of me."

“Believe that the loose ball that you are chasing has your name on it.”

"My love for Duke and this building and the people in it – I can’t love it more. And so to have my name on the court is great...and I’ll try to continue to honor that court in the way we have."

"I’m fortunate now that I coach at Duke University and we’ve won a lot."

More quotes: The 24 Best Kobe Bryant Mamba Mentality Quotes  >>



Other Coach K Sayings

“There are things you can talk about and plan and then there are things that just happen. Sometimes players do things that bring out the best in each other…like when a group of talented musicians hits their groove."

“I define passion as extreme emotion.”

“Confrontation simply means meeting the truth head-on.”



“Making shots counts, but not as much as the people who make them.”

“You have to work hard at staying in contact with your friends so that the relationships will continue and live on… Friendships, along with love, make life worth living.”

“Confidence shared is better than confidence only in yourself.”

"I think you're not a human being unless you have doubts and fears."

"The person who has inspired me my whole life is my Mom, because she taught me commitment. She sacrificed."

More motivational basketball quotes:

• Kobe Bryant | Michael Jordan | Steph Curry | LeBron James | Kyrie Irving | Kevin Durant Allen Iverson | Shaq | Larry Bird Phil Jackson | John WoodenCoach Pat Summitt | Coach Jim Valvano  | All


Other Posts You Might Like

Top 30 Kobe Bryant Quotes About Hard Work & Work Ethic

Mar 27, 2024