North Carolina coach Roy Williams can't help but "hate it" that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski could pass Dean Smith - one of Williams' mentors - on the all-time basketball wins list, as soon as Wednesday night. But at the same time, he can't help but respect it, too.
"I think that Mike said this, I think he said that Coach Smith had set the standard for all the other coaches, or something like that," Williams said. "Well, that's what Mike has done. He's going to set a standard for the rest of us to try to see if we can keep up."
Krzyzewski enters Wednesday's game against UNC Greensboro at Greensboro Coliseum tied with Smith on the Division I victories list with 879 wins. Bob Knight tops that chart with 902.
Earlier this month, Williams shared his thoughts with The News & Observer about Krzyzewski approaching Smith's mark:
Q: What are your thoughts on Coach Krzyzewski preparing to pass Coach Smith in all-time victories?
A: It's an amazing accomplishment. And when I say "amazing," I can't bold enough letters, I can't capitalize enough. It's a major accomplishment, and it's amazing. It's human nature that you hate that somebody's passing Coach Smith, there's no question about that. But no one can have more respect for what Mike has done than I do. And I mean that - our fans may get ticked off, but that's the truth.
It's a much different time now that it was 30 years ago, and to be able to do it the way he's done it, and what he's done, it's just an event. I'm not happy - but I am happy. I can go all the way back to '91, when they beat us [Kansas] in the national championship game, and the first thing I said to Mike was, 'Obviously, I'm devastated, but I'm happy for you.' He had gone through some of the same stuff that Coach [Smith] had been through, he had gone four or five or six times and not won it. So I was really ticked off that we hadn't won, but I was really happy for him.
And my attitude on that has never changed. ... I think that Mike said this, I think he said that Coach Smith had set the standard for all the other coaches, or something like that. Well, that's what Mike has done. He's going to set a standard for the rest of us to try to see if we can keep up.
Q: As different people as Krzyzewski and Smith are, were there similarities, too?
A: So many similarities. They were both so disciplined, so organized, so focused on getting their teams to accomplish something - and they are both so focused on the individual, away from the court. They both care about the kids. It wasn't just a factory. And my saying all this might make the Carolina fans mad, but I truly believe that.
They were so similar in so many things - personalities drastically different, but when you start talking about coaching and running a basketball program, I think it's a compliment to both of them. Now me, Coach [Smith] was my mentor, and I don't think anyone's ever done it the way he's done it. But I tell you what, I don't think anyone's ever done it the way Mike Krzyzewski has done it, either.
Q: What's it say that two coaches from Tobacco Road have won so many games?
A: It is amazing. I have a picture in my office of me and Coach [John] Wooden and Coach Smith that is really a special picture to me. Sometime I would really like to have a picture of me and Bob Knight, John Thompson and Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski, because those are people who really are the real giants in the profession.