Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Paterno, Krzyzewski meet to talk about teaching, leadership

Joe Paterno and Mike Krzyzewski are two coaches that often seem larger than life. Their tenures as coaches for Penn State football and Duke men’s basketball are among the longest in collegiate sports history, and their strategies for success are often emulated by their peers.

During the filming of ESPN’s “Difference Makers: Life Lessons with Paterno and Krzyzewski” the two legendary coaches discussed their philosophies of teaching and coaching. As they reminisced about the people and events that influenced them, it was hard to believe it was the first time the two had met.

In between moments of reflection and playful banter, the two touched upon topics such as teaching and values. They highlighted the importance of providing athletes with support outside the realm of athletics. Both coaches discussed the need to attend to athletes to help them succeed scholastically while instilling values that will eventually help the “boys” become men. A running theme was that the coaches’ respective universities went a long way to encourage a culture that has allowed the programs to enjoy long-term success.

When asked about NCAA reforms, Paterno and Krzyzewski offered some basic, but insightful opinions. Paterno suggested the NCAA need to consider making freshmen ineligible, allowing them to work with special coaches to help ease them into the university environment. Krzyzewski believes one of the biggest problems the NCAA needs to address is a modernization of policies. In particular, he pointed to how changes in technology have made practices related to recruiting and contacting athletes different than in years past.

For another review of the event, visit the gopsusports.com blog. Additionally, photos of the event are available on gopsusports.com. The 90-minute show will air on June 30, beginning at 8 p.m. on ESPN and continuing at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.

- Melanie Formentin