College Basketball

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says he didn't criticize Obama in remarks on military strategy

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who was quoted as criticizing President Obama's ISIS strategy in a viral Election Day story, clarified his remarks Tuesday night after the Blue Devils' exhibition win over Livingstone.

The story, reported by The Daily Beast and other websites Tuesday, said that Krzyzewski questioned Obama's promise of "no boots on the ground" against ISIS in the coach's speech last month at an Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington, where he received an award.

"That's like saying I'm not going to play two of my best players," Krzyzewski said in the speech.

"You never tell your opponent you are not going to use [them], like I’m not going to play Grant Hill, J.J. Redick, [Christian] Laettner,” he said, rattling off the names of some of his biggest stars at Duke.

The remarks were overlooked until the stories were posted Tuesday. After Duke's 115-58 exhibition win Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Krzyzewski was asked about them.

“I'm passionate about the United States military and always will be an amazing supporter of the military," he said. "On that night nothing was ever said about President Obama, and nothing was ever said about ISIS. In fact, I hate even saying that word.

"I do not hate saying the other word because I love President Obama. It's amazing that it happened three weeks ago and on Election Day something is brought up and said in a way that I didn’t say. So be it."

Krzyzewski also expressed his pride at receiving the George Catlett Marshall Medal from the Association of the U.S. Army at the event. "That was as huge of an award as I've ever gotten,” he said.

"I wear it with pride, and I'll always, always be passionate about our United States military, and I hope our entire country would always be that way — and I'm not running for anything."