Mike Krzyzewski apologizes after screaming, 'Shut up!' at Duke students

Jan 18, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA;  Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his team during the second half against the Louisville Cardinals at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  The Cardinals won 79-73. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Coach K wasn't happy with his student section on Tuesday. (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s not that unusual to see Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski screaming at Duke students during a game. It does, however, stand out when those students aren’t players on the basketball team.

Coach K took issue with his own student section during a win over Pitt on Tuesday, to the point of screaming, “Shut up!” repeatedly at the Cameron Crazies.

The students’ offense: chanting “Sit with us” at Pitt coach Jeff Capel, a former assistant coach and four-year starter at Duke.

The chastised students collectively had the look of a high-schooler whose parents busted their kegger.

It makes sense Krzyzewski would be defensive about Capel, even across enemy lines. In addition to his years playing and coaching under Krzyzewski, Capel is widely seen as a possibility to replace the coach after his retirement.

Krzyzewski more or less apologized for his treatment of the students after the game, saying he thought they were chanting something more personal to Capel. He still took issue with the timing of their chant, which took place in the first half of the game.

“Once I heard his name, I’m not going to go say, ‘Will you please tell me exactly what you’re doing?’ So it’s a mistake on my part, but I’d rather make the mistake in protection of my guy,” Krzyzewski said. “I went at the end of the half and said, ‘Look, he’s our guy. He’s our guy.’ That’s it. So I apologize.”

Krzyzewski then proposed some alternate cheers such as “Defense!” and “Come on, Duke!” We’ll see if those catch on.

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