Obama Calls Coach K

By Chris Good

The White House just announced:

This afternoon, President Obama called Duke University men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski to congratulate him and his team on their championship and to invite them to the White House. The President also spoke to members of the Butler University team and their coach Brad Stevens. He told them they played a great game, showed tremendous heart, and he hopes to get a chance to play with them.

Well this could have been awkward. One of Coach K's former players, Reggie Love, works as President Obama's personal assistant these days, but nonetheless the coach and the president got into a mild spat last year over Obama's NCAA bracket.

After Obama picked North Carolina to win the '09 tournament (which the Tar Heels did), Krzyzerski retorted, "Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets."

Obama brushed off the criticism in a radio interview: "Look, you know, he's a competitive guy. I just don't think they've got the inside game to go all the way, but I look forward to him proving me wrong," Obama told Ed Schultz.

(Coach K is a Republican; he took some heat for holding a fundraiser for Elizabeth Dole's Senate campaign in a University-affiliated hotel just off campus in 2002.)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/04/obama-calls-coach-k/38564/