YPSILANTI – Perhaps that “anonymous” donation to the Michigan
men’s basketball program wasn’t so anonymous after all.

Janna Hutz
Michigan basketball coach Tommy Amaker (front) and the Maize Rage (back) have joined together to bring forth a new era for Wolverine basketball. (DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily)

Following Michigan coach Tommy Amaker’s announcement Wednesday
that returning student ticket holders would be given the
opportunity to renew their tickets at no charge due to an anonymous
donation to the program, speculation over the donor’s identity was
widespread. Yesterday, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski may have given
the first clue toward solving the mystery when he implied that
Amaker himself may have had more to do with the donation than meets
the eye.

“I think if you would search on that, I think that you would
find that the mystical powers of Tommy Amaker being involved,
looking out for the students,” Krzyzewski said with a grin. “I
really believe that it’s something that Tommy’s been pushing for,
forever.”

Krzyzewski, who spoke yesterday to the Washtenaw County Economic
Club at the Ypsilanti Marriot at Eagle Crest, called the decision
to offer free tickets to the Maize Rage “one of the best decisions
that could be made.” Duke’s student section also gets free season
tickets.

Krzyzewski’s implication seemed to name Amaker as the anonymous
donor. But Michigan Ticketing Services Director Marty Bodnar
refused to confirm or deny whether Amaker was responsible for the
donation.

“The name of the donor is anonymous and will remain anonymous,”
Bodnar said.

While the origin of the donation to the basketball program may
still be unclear, Amaker’s relationship with Krzyzewski is just the
opposite. Amaker played point guard for ‘Coach K’ from 1984 to 1987
before returning to Duke from 1988 to 1997 as an assistant.

Because of their friendship, which remains to this day, Amaker’s
Michigan squad will no longer play Krzyzewski’s Duke team. In his
first two years at Michigan, Amaker was 0-2 against his mentor.

“When Tommy first got the job, we thought about continuing the
series, and then we decided that we should go two more years. Now
those two years are done,” Krzyzewski said. “I think we’d both
rather not play one another because of our close relationship, and
I think it’s a good decision.”

Krzyzewski’s speech to the crowd of around 600 emphasized strong
teamwork as a key to success. The legendary coach shared anecdotes
from his 22-year career at Duke, including stories from his team’s
1992 NCAA Tournament game against Kentucky – in which Christian
Laettner hit a turnaround shot at the buzzer to win – along with
his experiences coaching the 1992 U.S. Dream Team to an Olympic
gold medal.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *