Tonight was supposed to be a storybook ending. In the end, Coach K gave an apology speech to the fans after the game was over. The North Carolina Tar Heels came into Cameron Indoor and turned this daydream into a nightmare.
What to Know
- This was Coach K’s last home game ever
- Duke was ranked #4 in the country and blew UNC out earlier this season
- Coach K gave a speech at halfcourt following the 94-81 loss
This was a wild game. The theatrics, the emotions, all of the pomp and circumstance for one of the game’s greatest. What was set up as a victory parade for Coach K ended in heartbreak. It was amazing to see the former players, almost 100 in total, all of the fans, the $5,000 ticket prices… and it wasn’t enough.
There is something about those pesky Tar Heels. After the loss, the Duke head coach had to go out on the court for a postgame celebration of his career. However, he had to go off-script to address the loyal fans that showed up for his last home game.
“This isn’t part of the program, this is impromptu by me,” Coach K started. “I’m sorry, about this afternoon… It’s unacceptable. Today was unacceptable, but the season has been very acceptable. I’ll tell you, this season isn’t over, alright?”
No one saw this coming. It was written up with an ending in mind, but that’s what makes the Tar Heel and Blue Devil rivalry so great. It is also why this game fits perfectly into the story of K’s career. Now, I’ll tell you one thing, I wouldn’t want to be North Carolina if the two end up meeting in the ACC Tournament. But I’ll gladly watch from home!
Coach K Speech Heard Round the World
This Coach K speech is going to be remembered for a long time. Before this game tipped off, many thought this would end in victory. However, that didn’t happen. North Carolina battled hard and had one of their best games of the season. The rivalry holds up to the hype. Duke won by 20 at the Dean Dome and karma came right back around and took this game from them at Cameron Indoor.
Will his final words ring hollow or true? If Duke goes on a postseason run, then that could make this speech another iconic moment in his long and successful career. As a Kentucky fan, I can’t help but think back to 2014 when Aaron Harrison said “This could still be a great story,” after a big loss to South Carolina. Harrison hit three game-winning threes to advance UK to the Final Four.
Does Coach K’s speech have the same magic to it as Harrison’s eight years ago? Well, his Duke team is ranked No.4 in the country and still might land a 1-seed if they win the ACC tourney. Kentucky was unranked and an 8-seed in the NCAA tournament. Still, you can’t help but feel eery energy after those words from the ball coach.