Q&A: Unabashed Duke haters

acarter@newsobserver.comFebruary 7, 2012 

The first sentence of the foreword to "Duke Sucks," a newly released book that's jammed full of disdain for the Blue Devils basketball program, offers the following Tar Heel blue assertion: "The best thing about hating Duke University is that you never have to explain yourself."

Co-authors Andy Bagwell and Reed Tucker, both of who graduated from North Carolina, don't spend much time explaining themselves. But over the next 180 pages or so, Bagwell and Tucker explain in plenty of detail why they hate Duke - and why they have so much fun doing so.

Bagwell, a Cary resident who graduated from North Carolina in 1992, spoke Monday with The News & Observer about the book.

Q. How did the idea for "Duke Sucks" come about?

We're both Carolina grads, so absolutely and totally admittedly horribly biased about hating Duke. I think you can actually minor in that at Carolina. But it's kind of more than that. We started talking about it, and we kind of figured out that it really goes beyond Carolina fans hating Duke.

Q. How much time did you guys spend working on this?

We did a lot of interviews, did a lot of research into books that were written, articles, everything that we could dig up out there. We went to some oddball places. We talked to a hair-coloring specialist to see if we could determine whether or not Coach K dyes his hair.

Q. Does he?

I don't think he does. And that was one of the most stunning things that came out of writing the book for me. I was convinced that a man that's over 60 years old could not have jet-black hair.

Q. What are some other things you learned you might not have known?

Digging back into the past was really surprising. I had heard some things in passing about Art Heyman and Larry Brown got into a fight in the '60's. I didn't know the details behind that. And for something to be that heated 40 years ago, or 50 years ago now - I didn't realize how that was even before Krzyzewski arrived. And then we even found things back from the 1930s that were going on, where Duke players were practicing throwing the basketball at the head of the Carolina players - this was laid out in the one of the books about Duke basketball.

Q. How has the book been received so far?

We actually had to do some sort of a rush reprint on Thursday, two days after the book came out, because it kind of flew off the shelves. But we certainly heard from a lot of people. Carolina fans are the easy audience, of course, so they've been lapping it up like thirsty dogs.

Q. So why do people enjoy hating Duke so much?

The perception is that Duke gets away with something. We actually liken it to the whole, 'Occupy 1 percent, 99 percent' Wall Street movement ... That Duke is the 1 percent. ... And also, people just don't like it when J.J. Redick flops.

Bagwell is scheduled to be signing copies of "Duke Sucks" Wednesday at noon at The Pit on the UNC campus. A full version of this interview can be found at UNC Now.

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