Mike Krzyzewski, Nolan Smith Win Honors for Community Work

Coach K honored by Make a Wish, Smith wins Tar Heel of the Month
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Duke’s coaching staff picked up a pair of awards for community work.

Make-A-Wish America, in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish chapter in Eastern North Carolina, presented coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke basketball program with the 2020 Chris Greicius Award, which recognizes the exceptional wish-granting support exemplified by Coach K and the team in helping create life-changing wish experiences for children fighting critical illness.

Duke joins the Green Bay Packers and New York Yankees among teams to earn the honor. The Blue Devils are the first college team to get the award.

Coach K and the Duke men's basketball program partner with Make-A-Wish to create once-in-a-lifetime moments for wish kids, inviting them into the Duke family, enabling them to see the world as a Duke Blue Devil basketball player, and empowering them to believe the impossible is possible.

Coach K and the team have been granting wishes for over a decade -- nine wishes since 2012 alone.

Duke’s director of basketball operations, Nolan Smith, also earned an honor, getting presented with the Tar Heel of the Month Award for October by the Raleigh News & Observer. It’s given to people who have made significant contributions to North Carolina and the region.

Smith was recently named a George H.W. Bush Points of Light Inspiration honoree for "his activism and community outreach efforts during the recent social justice movement.” In August, Smith organized a rally on campus, has spearheaded voter-registration efforts and led multiple peaceful protests around the city. The former team captain and ACC Player of the Year also attended a summit with Durham public officials and was invited by Durham Mayor Steve Schewel to serve as a community leader.

"They still think he's the mayor here of Duke from when he played — the people's champ," coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Smith. "He's done an amazing job during this pandemic and with all the social unrest. Actually, we have a Brotherhood Zoom (Wednesday) with all of our former players. The stuff that we've done as a result of that, Nolan kind of started that. In our community, he's like the Pied Piper."