For Pete's Sake

Coach Krzyzewski questions President Obama’s game plan for war on ISIS

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Associated Press

Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski offered some unsolicited advice to President Obama.

Don’t give your opponent any inside information on what you plan to do.

Specifically, Krzyzewski believes that President Obama shouldn’t have tipped his hand about not sending ground troops to fight ISIS.

The Daily Beast reported that Krzyzewski spoke to the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) conference last month.

According to its web site, the AUSA is a professional, non-profit association representing America’s Army on Capitol Hill and in the local communities. Krzyzewski made his remarks while accepting the AUSA’s George Catlett Marshall Award, which is given “annually to an individual who has exhibited selfless service to the United States of America.”

Krzyzewski gave some “coaching” tips to the President.

“I know it’s upsetting to many of you when you hear ‘no boots on the ground.’ It upsets me too, because that’s like saying I’m not going to play two of my best players,” Krzyzewski said, according to The Daily Best.

“Because that’s what you are trained to do. And for decades and decades, the fact that we are a free country and we don’t play home games here is a result of having boots on the ground. That’s the problem.”

Krzyzewski later added he never would have publicly stated that he wasn’t going to play Christian Laettner, Grant Hill or J.J. Redick in a game when they were at Duke.

As coach of the U.S. team, Krzyzewski won Olympic gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Games, and he referenced that, too.

“ ‘Hey Spain, I’m not going to start Lebron (James) and Kobe (Bryant) tonight.’ I don’t think you do that,” he said. “Now how much I play them? Let the guy try to figure out how much I’m going to play them.”

Krzyzewski graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1969 and later coached Army.

You’d think President Obama would go to his brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, if he wanted coaching advice. Then again, Robinson, whose sister is First Lady Michelle Obama, was fired as Oregon State’s men’s basketball coach earlier this year.

It’s not the first time Krzyzewski has offered advice to President Obama.

In 2009, Obama didn’t pick Duke to make the Final Four in his NCAA Tournament bracket.

“Somebody said that we’re not in Obama’s Final Four, and as much as I respect what he’s doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets,” Krzyzewski said.

The next year, Duke won it all and Obama met with the Blue Devils.

“Payback is sweet, isn’t it, coach?” Obama said.

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/pgrathoff

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