February 13, 2008 - A Valentine for All: Share Your Coach K Story

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Should any reader doubt that Coach K's humanitarian record comes any shorter against Dean Smith's generosity than his record against Smith on the hardwood (that would be 14-28 lifetime), rest easy! Coach K's web site now features a page called "Share Your Coach K Story," and sweet mother of Jesus, are there stories to be told. In the past, we've taken our shots at Herr K, and so in the interest of fairness, we've decided to let him toot his own horn right here on our front page.

This unedited testimonial, entitled "Coach K has inspired and touched the lives of countless individuals and is Respected by everyone" features a "fiancee" with Substance Abuse Disease and Coach K supplying the miracle cure. Read it and weep. Please. Then perhaps send the site your own testimonial?

Prior to my Freshman year in High School, 1994, I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. I attended Duke Basketball Camp, and I was able to meet and have my picture taken with Coach K. This picture has always been proudly displayed since that day, and still today after relocating to Salt Lake City, Utah, it is one of my most treasured possessions. I have endured many challenges and trials following that memorable opportunity to meet and speak with Coach K. I became hopeless as I never achieved the success I dreamed about on the court. Needless to say, this was the part of my life that was the easiest event for me to overcome. I completed college at a small Liberal Arts College in Annville, PA, Lebanon Valley College, where I actually was blessed with the opportunity to play on a Division III Nationally Ranked Basketball team. Following graduation, I remained employed at my employer that I worked for since I was 17 years old. Then, what I thought to be an amazing career advancement opportunity was presented to me, as well as the opportunity to move to Salt Lake City to be with my girlfriend. I have experienced many medical conditions, in addition to supporting my now Fiancee' during her recovery from a Substance Abuse Disease. I have always possessed a very large heart, and no matter the consequences, I never would allow a person in need of help or assistance to be passed by or given up on. My prayers were answered as she is now in recovery from her disease, and had been clean since my employer discharged me following one year of employment. Needless to say, as I accepted the position, I was mislead about the work conditions, promise of a work/life balance, as well as proper training and assistance from my directors. So, I have been left hopeless all due to helping my Fiancee' get well, and due to my conditions I was entitled to reasonable accommodations that were never given any attention. This past Friday, however, I received a blessing of finally being diagnosed with the underlying chronic condition I have been experiencing for quit a long time, Bipolar Disorder. As frightening as I was when informed of my diagnosis, I finally have a renewed sense of hope in my life that was being destroyed each day. I quickly realized my need to come to grips with my disorder, and I can now live a life that is so called "normal" with proper treatment and counseling. Sorry for the long history of my life, and that was the short version, haha. I just wanted to let you know, Coach K, that I began reading your book, Leading with the Heart. I have forever been a Duke fanatic, and I remember the exact moment when I fell in love with the Duke Basketball Program. It was the game at the Meadowlands Arena when Christian L. hit the turn-around jumper from the foul line, following a perfect pass from Grant Hill. I remember praying during the TV commercials for God to help Duke pull off, what ended up being one if not the greatest moment in NCAA History! I also have to rank it up there with the comeback win against Maryland with 1 min. and 1 sec. to go and Duke trailed by 10 or 11 points. Then, Jason Williams scored 11 points in less than a minute I think to take the game into OT. As I reflect back upon these moments, I believe it was your leadership philosophy and the players knowing that YOU believed they could come back and win! As I have begun reading your book, it has provided me with a great help as I pursue a new career opportunity. You have proven that your leadership and approach to coaching, leadership, and business will lead to success! This current Duke team, as all Duke teams, I always have confidence because of the leadership and morals they gain from you. This will be a magical year, and you can count on my work that Duke will win the NCAA Championship! Well, I apologize for rambling, I just wanted you to know the impact you have made upon my life, as well as countless others who I do not even know. Thank you for everything, and as I approach a new career, I am following the blueprint you have established. I am doing this because I know it will never fail! I wish you, your family, and the Duke team the best of luck and may God's blessings be with you each and every day! Thank you for taking the time to allow me to thank you, and for listening even though you do not know me! Respectfully, Erik