Darius Rucker Thanks Coach Mike Kryzewski for Being the ‘GOAT’ After Duke’s Final Four Loss to UNC

by TK Sanders
(Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Crossover musician Darius Rucker hails from Charleston, South Carolina, but he’s obviously a fan of the elite basketball — and coaching — coming out of the Tar Heel State just north of him. After North Carolina’s thrilling upset over Duke in Coach K’s final game, Darius Rucker took to Twitter to express his sincerest admiration for the legendary coach.

Like most of the country, Darius Rucker seemingly loved to hate Coach K and the Blue Devils

Rucker, who attended the University of South Carolina in the 1980s (where he would form Hootie and the Blowfish), likely doesn’t cheer for Duke as a fan. Quite frankly, he probably cheers against them; as does most of the sporting country, which largely views the perennial powerhouse as the greatest villain in college athletics. But the “hatred” always comes tempered with a healthy dose of respect — for the program, and for Coach K, who amassed over 1200 wins at a little private school in Durham since 1980. Put simply, it’s the greatest love/hate relationship in sports. You either love Duke, or you love to hate Duke, and there isn’t much room for debate in-between.

Krzyzewski’s career ends with an NCAA-record 13 Final Four appearances and five national titles, second-most behind John Wooden. The Duke coach clearly wanted to end his career like Wooden’s — with a national title in his final game — as the scowl on his face seemed a bit starker, and the joy of winning March Madness games shone through a bit brighter these past few weeks. Marquette’s Al McGuire is the only other college basketball coach to win a national title in his last game.

North Caroline certainly earned their spot in the National Championship game

The sting of defeat will linger a bit longer than normal in this instance, however, as Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils fell to arch-rivals North Carolina in his final game. It was the third Duke-UNC game played this season alone, and the 98th overall in Krzyzewski’s 40-plus years. Duke won the first in Chapel Hill, then lost to the Heels in an embarrassing blowout during the regular-season finale at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Though he finished with a winning career record against UNC, Krzyzewski lost to his archrival in both his final home game and his final game overall; the latter with a spot in the national championship on the line.

Moving forward to Monday’s National Championship, North Carolina’s Hubert Davis would become just the second coach ever to win the title in his first year. The first was Michigan’s Steve Fisher in 1989. According to On3, his first game as coach came in the tourney’s first game, as he was promoted after news broke that Bill Frieder would leave for Arizona State when the season was over. On the other side of the bench, Kansas’ Bill Self is going for his second crown. He won his first in 2008, but has consistently fielded elite teams every year during his tenure.

The 2022 NCAA Men’s National Championship game tips off from New Orleans at 9:20 p.m. ET.