Humble and Unselfish, #Leadership Lessons from Coach K

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament ended last week with the Duke Blue Devils capturing the title. For Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, his fifth national championship further solidified his place in history as one of the greatest coaches ever. In a brief sound byte from one of his players, senior Quinn Cook, we got a glimpse of why Coach K has been so successful.

After winning the championship, Cook was asked about what it meant to help Coach K win his fifth title. He responded, “All year, and especially this past week, this week of preparation, Coach has been making it not about his fifth, but about our first together. I can remember when we won 1,000 games for him [Coach K reached that milestone earlier this season], he was more worried about us getting our 17th win…..He’s kept us all, you know, in the moment of this team. It’s great to get him his fifth, but I know he’s happy that this is his first with us.”


Coach K talking to his team

Coach K talking to his team

The longer I lead, the more I feel that humility and unselfishness are critical, but often missing, qualities of a leader. Leaders must care more about those on their teams than they do themselves.  They must not care who gets the credit for a job well done.  They must put the needs of their team members first.

Quinn Cook’s quote reveals that Coach K is an unselfish leader. Despite his selection to both the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, Coach K remains humble and always places his team first.  These qualities, humility and unselfishness, have certainly contributed to Coach K’s incredible success. That should be reason enough for us to give them a try.  Be humble and unselfish this week!

Thanks for reading,


P.S. – Check out my website at and keep me in mind if you hear of any opportunities to share my thoughts on leadership.



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