Will Duke’s Krzyzewskiville survive if Coach K leaves?


A Duke student runs around the picturesque tent camp known as Krzyzewskiville in 2012.

A Duke student runs around the picturesque tent camp known as Krzyzewskiville in 2012.

News and columnist

It was the most competitive tent season for Duke basketball fans: a record number of students took “Krzyzewskiville ”entrance exam hoping to get a place in the student section to watch coach Mike Krzyzewski’s latest home game as a coach on Saturday night.

In January, 174 tent groups enrolled in less than 24 hours, with a total of about 2,000 undergraduate students. The best teams earned a place in one of 70 blue tents on a grassy field near the indoor Cameron Stadium, officially named Krzyzewskiville, where they slept a few weeks before the historic basketball game.

The a long tradition spanning generations of Duke fans or “Crazy Cameron.” But last year they pitched tents to see the legendary coach retiring.

But while his namesake leaves Duke, Krzyzewskiville remains here.

And the name too.

“Everyone knows it’s a tradition, and the demand will still remain,” said Duke Sr. Dan Behrens, vice president of tents. “I don’t understand why they stop doing that.”

Duke’s students stand in line near Cameron’s indoor stadium in 2017, awaiting rivalry with UNC. Chuck Lidi News and columnist

“School culture”

The tradition is bigger than Coach K and the game itself.

The tent brings people together. It’s commonplace for math majors, sports writers, sisters from the Women’s Society, Duke’s lifelong fans, and those who have no idea what “one and done” means.

“It’s a school culture,” Behrens said.

And Krzyzewski helped build this culture.

“You sleep five weeks in a place named after him to go watch a basketball game on the court named after him,” Said Behrens.

“This influence will remain.”

The students said that although they believe in future coach John Scheer next season, the tent is going nowhere. And, most likely, the proposal of a new name Krzyzewskiville will lead to outrage.

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The plaque marks the official place for Krzyzewski’s tents. Bernard Thomas bthomas@heraldsun.com

How does the tent work?

The tradition was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shortened this year when the Omicron option postponed Duke’s spring semester in person. It also probably contributed to the high demand for Saturday’s game against UNC’s sworn opponents.

The the rules are simple but strict.

This year, the students who scored the highest on the test set up tents and slept outside for three weeks during the “blue tent” season. Their order in the queue was based on the results of a second trifle test, attending Duke sporting events and receiving awards for the spirit.

A Duke student runs around the picturesque tent camp known as Krzyzewskiville in 2012. Harry Lynch News and columnist

The tent can accommodate up to 12 people. Six people were to be housed in three separate tents at night and during the day two people.

Linear monitors are inspected throughout the tent season to make sure the tents are properly staffed.

In the season of “white tents” can join another 30 tents, and over the next two weeks the number of people occupying the tents decreases. One member of the tent should be on duty during the day and two at night. The order of the white tents is determined by hunting for the garbage line “Race to a Secret Place” or at the discretion of line observers.

Another 30 “death tents” are governed by the same rules, but they are not guaranteed a place in the “Carolina” game.

The total population of K-Villa is about 1,500 students, occupying exactly 130 tents.

“Somewhere I want to be”

This is something you can’t do on any other college campus in America. And some students therefore came to Duke.

“If this is a place where people love their school so much that in the winter they will literally sleep in a tent for six weeks, then I probably want to be there,” Jake Piazza said.

Piazza was a freshman, but this year he will be watching the game from a slightly different position as the sports editor of The Chronicle, Duke’s student newspaper. He covers the game and wrote about the last two tent nights in the Coach K. era. a recent column in The Chronicle.

“Students love tents, no matter how weird, weird or insane it looks from an outsider’s point of view,” Piazza said.

Martina Stoyanvska leaves her tent in Krzyzewski to join friends before the 2015 game against Tar Heels. Chuck Lidi News and columnist

He spoke to some of the most devoted tent-makers who huddled in a special training tent, ate Lucky Charms and set aside paper, while others entered the yellow Coors jacket. He watched as students raised their hands in the air as Loud Luxury played on stage and stepped through pizza boxes with Coach K’s face. P-check ”, where monitors on the line monitor the presence and accounting of tents.

He embraced everything and felt the strength of Coach K’s legacy.

“I know that the tent camp will return anyway,” Piazza wrote. “Cameron’s lunatics didn’t get their names for no reason.”

And as soon as the tent camp rose, everything fell. Having secured a place in the queue, the students deconstructed their tents about a week before the game to clear the lawn for other celebrations before the game.

A Duke student walks past deserted Krzyzewski after a winter storm with snow and harsh cold temperatures turned the tent city into a ghost town in 2003. Chuck Lidi News and columnist

The last K-Ville with coach K

Just three days before the game this week in Krzyzewski was terribly quiet – a stark contrast to the chaos and sea of ​​blue tents that filled the space the previous week.

The crews were preparing for the ESPN College GameDay broadcast, coach Scheer was sitting quietly at one end talking on the phone, and Duke athletes were casually passing by a handful of abandoned tents scattered on the lawn.

Sophomore Charlotte Kurdert was sitting on a stone wall overlooking an empty K-Ville while painting the coat of arms of Cameron’s Indoor Stadium on a denim jumpsuit she plans to wear on Saturday. The bright blue paint matched her dyed hair tied in a bundle at the top. She stopped freshman guard Jalen Blakes from signing his pants with a haircut, which added the perfect touch.

A native of New York, Kurdert did not know that Duke was a basketball school when she applied, but now she understands the game, the strengths of the players and especially the importance of Saturday’s game. This spring semester was for her the first opportunity to participate in tents since it was canceled last year, so she wasn’t going to miss it.

“I can go to the game, and that’s what really worries me, even if it’s not the front row,” Kurder said.

She doesn’t know exactly where her place will be, but in some ways it doesn’t matter.

Any place is a good place if you can see history in Cameron.

Cameron Crazy raised his hands during Duke’s foul at Cameron’s indoor stadium in 2001 when Duke played in Wake Forest. Photo file News & Observer

This story was originally published March 4, 2022 11:19.

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Kate Murphy talks about higher education for The News & Observer. She previously covered higher education for the Cincinnati Inquirer in the Investigation and Entrepreneurship Group and the USA Today Network. Her work has received state awards in Ohio and Kentucky, and she was recently named a 2019 Finalist of Education Writers Association finalist for digital storytelling.
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Will Duke’s Krzyzewskiville survive if Coach K leaves?

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