Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski recently completed a three-week family vacation to a secluded stretch of North Carolina coastline, only occasionally crossing paths with fellow beachgoers during his daily one-hour walks.
Krzyzewski took the time to greet those who recognized him, but he didn't take the chance of posing for a photograph.
"I'd rather not take a picture with somebody on the beach, especially in today's world," Krzyzewski said. "It's like, 'Here's Coach K ... with his new family. Where's Mickie? There's something wrong. He went to the beach and he has eight kids and this 23-year-old wife. How did that happen?'"
Krzyzewski's comments drew laughs from the media gathered Friday at the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center, but the legendary coach doesn't think some of what he sees involving his program on the Internet and even in the mainstream media is a laughing matter anymore.
Krzyzewski believes that it's become socially acceptable for media to openly express dislike for his Blue Devils, but he's no longer willing to accept it.
"It's socially acceptable? I don't know - maybe I'm not going to be as social then anymore," Krzyzewski said. "It's like, 'Why did you say you hate Duke? Is that the only thing you hate?'
"I go up and I say I hate cancer. That's something to hate. John Edwards has said he hates Duke. ... I don't think that's right. I'm going to start talking about those things."
Krzyzewski, with a helping hand from the Duke athletics department, is aiming to do something about it. He's been looking at the way he deals with the media to see if he's fueled the perceptions, and then he's looking at the way the media portrays his program.
"I always think that the first people you investigate are you," Krzyzewski said. "How are you handling stuff? Are you being arrogant? What are you doing? Take a look at yourself first. And then it's like, 'OK, maybe I'm not doing this enough,' or 'Maybe that wasn't the right thing to do.'
"[Don] Imus gets knocked because he said something racial or against women and those are the two biggest areas someone will hold someone accountable because you have groups that are watchdogs for it. They hold people accountable.
"We're in an area where no one is holding anyone accountable."
A few weeks after a down season by Duke's standards ended, Krzyzewski talked about how he felt that sentiments once reserved for opposing fans had seeped into the media. He carried with him two newspaper clippings from the week of Duke's loss to VCU in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament: A paper from his hometown of Chicago featuring a large photo of bloodied Duke freshman Jon Scheyer with the headline 'Duke can't cut it' and a New York paper with a picture of Krzyzewski and the headline 'Public enemy.'
Krzyzewski said that while the jab at him didn't upset him, he felt bad for Scheyer and other college athletes portrayed in such a light.
"'Duke can't cut it.' It's funny, but it's a kid. For me, it's a crappy thing," Krzyzewski said. "How did that happen? How do you get to the point where really - I'm not saying that we haven't done anything wrong or whatever - but we run a clean program and we've helped build a children's hospital, we've built the Emily Krzyzewski center, we're on the V Foundation.
"What the hell are we doing, except winning?"