Thirty-year vacation produces myriad memories

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•I've seen each of Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski's four national championships and 13 ACC tournament titles, and dozens of his news conferences. Twice we've sat in his office for extended one-on-one interviews -- the second, in 2010, a fascinating conversation about his study of leadership in business, the military and sports.

But among the smartest things I've heard Krzyzewski say was three words at the 1991 Final Four.

Duke had just upset top-ranked and undefeated Nevada-Las Vegas 79-77, the same UNLV that had blistered the Blue Devils by 30 in the 1990 national title game. Naturally, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Co., were in the mood to celebrate.

"Stop," Krzyzewski admonished amid the sideline excitement. "One more."

One more. One more game to win for the program's first NCAA championship. Two nights later, Duke defeated Roy Williams-coached Kansas.

•The ACC used to conduct a bus tour each summer, transporting media to each conference school for preseason football interviews. In 1991, the league was especially ambitious.

Following our final school stop, at Maryland, we headed to the Meadowlands in north Jersey for reigning national champion Georgia Tech's season-opener against Penn State. Stories filed, we made our way to Manhattan for some late-night revelry at Runyon's, where the juke box was stocked with Hoboken's own, Frank Sinatra.

Our next stop was Newark airport and a pre-dawn flight to Los Angeles for Florida State's opener in Anaheim, Calif., versus Brigham Young. One night later, we red-eyed to Charlotte, where I reversed field and flew to Chicago for a friend's wedding in Iowa.

Ah, youth.

•Terry Armour, Lynda Frank and Mike Minium brought uncommon humor and energy to the Daily Press sports staff. They died too young.

•My first Daily Press road trip was in September 1984 to State College, Pa., where William and Mary's football team played Penn State. Such games are a chance for relative peasants to compete with royalty and cash a large check in the process.

"William and Mary worked hard for the money," I wrote from the 56-18 drubbing, a wise-guy line that didn't sit well with Tribe coach Jimmye Laycock.

But like most everyone else I've frosted over three decades, Laycock said his piece and moved on. Still on the job at his alma mater, Laycock is a better coach than golfer, and that's high praise.

•Helping chaperon Boo Williams teams to Paris in 1996 and Sao Paulo in 2001 transcended the basketball, which, by the way, included Shane Battier, Dirk Nowitzki, J.J. Redick and Jarrett Jack.

Watching those teens marvel at the Eiffel Tower and interact with locals at a Brazilian arts festival made the trips worthwhile.

•On the fifth anniversary of Virginia Tech's campus shootings, I ran in the school's commemorative 3.2-mile race. Hokie Nation's resolve, and the outpouring of so many others, remain an inspiration.

•There's nothing quite like a postseason baseball walk-off, and in 2011, Virginia staged a classic. Down to their last strike in an NCAA Super Regional elimination game, and with no one on base, the Cavaliers sandwiched three singles around an intentional walk to defeat UC Irvine 3-2.

Shortstop Chris Taylor from Virginia Beach drove in the tying and winning runs to send a standing-room-only home crowd into delirium and the Cavs to the College World Series.

•North Carolina's Dean Smith passed Kentucky's Adolph Rupp as major college basketball's winningest coach during the 1997 NCAA tournament. Scores of former players, assistant coaches and managers flocked to Winston-Salem, N.C., for the moment, and Smith, blessed with remarkable recall, knew every one by name.

Which makes the dementia shrouding Smith today all the more poignant.

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