By Joel Alderman
When a Yale basketball team plays on Wednesday (Nov. 25th) for only the second time at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, the Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski, will be renewing a relationship with the Bulldogs that goes back 48 years, and the President of Duke, Richard Brodhead, may be conflicted over which team he really wants to win.
In the pre-Krzyzewski era of 1973, a Yale team played in Cameron, which opened in 1940, and lost 105-80. It was the third time the universities had met on the hardwoods, starting in 1936 at Duke, then again in 1956 in the Dixie Classic in Raleigh, N.C. That is the closest Yale has ever come to beating Duke, losing 56-53.
PART I. MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
Well before he started his great coaching career, he was just Cadet Krzyzewski of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point., where he played on the basketball team. Although the schools are old rivals in football, not many are aware that Army and Yale also have an old basketball history. Their first game on the court was in 1909, and over the years the West Pointers hold a 28-24 edge.
During his playing days at Army, from 1966 to 1969, his coach was also to become a legend, Bobby Knight. In his senior
season of 1968-69, Krzyzewski, was captain of the Army quintet that made it to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and finished fourth.
During his coaching term at West Point, Krzyzewski coached against Yale three times, winning two and losing the third. I thought it would be interesting to research those games and document a short history of Yale vs. Mike Krzyzewski, both as a player and then a coach.
Dec. 29, 1967: Krzyzewski’s clutch free throw was decisive in beating Yale, 50-49
During their holiday breaks, on Dec. 29, 1967, Yale and Army participated in the four team Triangle Classic at Raleigh, N.C. After both teams lost their first games, they were paired against each other in what was essentially a contest for third-place.
Krzyzewski sank a free throw in the final minute and a half to enable Army to edge Yale 50-49. The game was close throughout and Yale, coached by Joe Vancisin, now a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, led 20-19 at halftime
It would be nice for this story to be able to include that Krzyzewski was Army’s high scorer, but it did not happen that way. The Cadets were led by center Steve Hunt with 21 points and Bill Schutsky, a guard, hit for 19. Krzyzewski only had five points, but the last was the big one.
One of Yale’s players was Ed Goldstone of Woodbridge, Conn., who scored nine points.
Dec. 30, 1976; Army 50 Yale 49
Nine years after playing against Yale, Krzyzewski again went up against the Bulldogs, this time as a coach. Oddly enough, the final score, 50-49, was identical to his game against Yale as a player. He had returned to the “Plains above the Hudson” in 1975 to direct the West Pointers, a position he held until 1980.The 1976 matchup was created the night before when “scrappy Yale,” as described by the Associated Press, lost to Georgia, 79-75, and Army was defeated by North Carolina State, 75-60.
Again the two schools were meeting on a neutral floor during a holiday tournament. It was the title game of the first Vermont Classic, and Army won it, 50-49. Krzyzewski was opposed on the sidelines by Ray Carazo, a former star at Penn, who was coaching Yale. Dick Shea had 16 points for the Bulldogs and was named to the all-tournament team.
Jan. 6, 1979: Army 81, Yale 80
Yale and Army hooked up again at West Point on Jan. 6, 1979. Once again a Krzyzewski coached team came out on top, and by a single point. The score was 81-80, but the Bulldogs had the lead 80-79 on a basket by Frank Maturo with 18 seconds left. At the same time, Maturo, who was from East Haven and went to Hopkins in New Haven, was called for charging. After two successful foul shots by Army’s Bob Brown, the Cadets had another one point decision over the Bulldogs.
Jan. 15, 1980: Yale 64, Army 63
Yale finally had success against Krzyzewski when he brought his team to New Haven on Jan. 15, 1980. For the fourth consecutive time in the series, the outcome was decided by one point.
The turning point was a steal by Gavin Jackson, who drove the length of the court for a layup to give Yale a three-point lead, 62-59, and Yale went on to win, 64-63. Jackson was a local product from New Haven who had played at Wilbur Cross High School, and who, sadly, is now deceased.
The same Bob Brown, who had made those two foul shots in the closing seconds to give Army a win over Yale the year before, almost did it again. Trailing 64-63 after making both ends of a one-and-one, Army got the ball back on a missed Yale foul try. Krzyzewski called time-out with three seconds left, but Brown failed to connect on a jumper from the baseline that would have won it at the buzzer.
Those two wins against Yale in 1976 and 1979 were Krzyzewski’s 20th and 58th in his now illustrious coaching career. Few, if any, would have predicted then that he would still be on the sidelines in 2015, sporting a lifetime total of over 1,000 wins.
PART II. RICHARD BRODHEAD
Duke’s president, Richard Brodhead, a Yale scholar, graduated summa cum laude in 1968, then earned a Ph.D. in English in 1972.
He went on to be a professor of English, the Director of Undergraduate Studies in English, and in 1993 the Dean of Yale College. He was at Yale until 2004, when he was chosen to be President of Duke.
Since then the schools have met on the athletic fields at least four times. Women’s soccer provided competition in an NCAA tournament game at Yale in 2005. The same teams had already faced each other in a regular season game, won by the Blue Devils 1-0. But in their NCAA match in New Haven a last second score gave Yale a stunning 2-1 upset victory.
Another meeting was in women’s tennis in 2011, a 4-0 Duke win. And earlier this year the Yale baseball team stopped of in
in Durham during its spring trip, and lost 13-4.
So the won-lost record of Duke against Yale during Yale alum Richard Brodhead’s presidency of Duke is 3-1, in Duke’s favor.
Their fifth meeting will take place on Wednesday in basketball. It’s a major challenge, some would say an insurmountable one, for the Ivy Leaguers, despite having a veteran team that has won its first three games. Yale, of course, will be huge “under-Bull-dogs” when it goes up against Mike Krzyzewski and the defending national champions.
Coach James Jones and Yale will gladly settle for another one-point game, like Yale’s four earlier ones against Coach K, and take their chances on the winner.
But whatever team does win, it will be a no-lose result for Richard Brodhead. Regardless of the outcome, he will probably just be happy seeing the student-athletes from the two universities to which he has devoted the greater part of his life, competing against each other.