NEW YORK -- The chandeliers are still hanging.

Because his team gave a vintage effort, overcoming a double-digit second half deficit in a frenzied arena, Mike Krzyzewski will fly home Sunday night the owner of 1,000 career coaching victories.

He is the first in Division I men's basketball to attain the feat.

Coach K 1000 (

NCAA D-I Victories
Coach Victories
Mike Krzyzewski 1,000
Jim Boeheim 962
Bob Knight 899
Dean Smith 879

Ever since Krzyzewski bumped his mentor, Bob Knight, off the top of the all-time wins list in D-I men's hoops, back in 2011, he's been setting records. Each victory a new benchmark for the sport he helped popularize and polarize over the past 20 or so seasons. But there's something grand about one thousand. That big, whole, round number. A new-age hallmark to significance, longevity and greatness. A reason to celebrate, commemorate and look back.

And for Krzyzewski, it's the rearmost fulfillment in a career that's filled beyond the brim with success. Sunday's 77-68 win over St. John's is the latest badge in a Hall of Fame career that has run out of accomplishments and achievements to scrub off a checklist. This is it. There is nothing left to chase.

Krzyzewski has no more to prove, and while that's been true in the pragmatic sense for more than a decade, in terms of coaching basketball and discernible measurements, Krzyzewski's bucket list is done. The tangible triumphs have been conquered. Four national titles. The ongoing all-time leader in wins. Most grand: a legacy that will likely forever be debated alongside John Wooden's as to who is the greatest coach in the history of men's college hoops.

Embraced by his players and fellow Duke coaches as the clock wound down, an emotional Krzyzewski was soon thereafter hounded and flooded by television cameras and photographers.

The court at Madison Square Garden was stormed by media, in addition to family and friends of the greater Duke family. It's Jan. 25, and this was the most appropriate-yet-oddly celebratory scene you'll ever see for an out-of-conference college basketball game.

The photogs flanking, enveloping the 67-year-old K was also fitting symbolism for a man who's career has been peeped at and adored by millions, lovably hated by plenty just as much, but ultimately and undeniably become modern legend.

And the whole hubbub made the most famous coach in the sport uncomfortable as hell.

"I’m glad it’s over," Krzyzewski said in the overcrowded postgame press conference. "Again, I’m honored, don’t get me wrong. I’m the lucky guy. I’m the lucky guy who’s been at two great institutions … I never had a day in 40 years where I worried about my back. Not many people can say that. To win and do this now — we had six days between games — so there have been so many articles written and things I didn’t even remember about me — most of them not that good, and maybe that’s why I didn’t remember them."

Point is, Krzyzewski was just sick of the media coverage in the build-up to this. Like he was alive and awake for an ongoing six-day funeral. A celebration of life and a career that's not even over yet. He's been through this before, in getting to 903, and he frankly felt as grateful as he was embarrassed by the procession of press from across the country.

"Thank you, again, but no more stories [about] my past," Krzyzewski said, before launching into one more himself, about himself, and what the media crush can get like for him and his family. "In 2005, when I was into the Laker thing, and at the beginning of July. Not that much going on in sports. So all of a sudden this Laker thing took on, like, it’s crazy. And you’re on all the time. We had to mattress up in our house to bunker in, make a decision. The TV comes on and I’m on. Debbie says, 'Dad, you’re on again.' And that’s the way I feel about. Like, that’s it. Enough is enough."

At least this squirmy week for Krzyzewski led to some fun, and some doubt, and the things he loves so much about the game: its unpredictability. Duke beat St. John's in one of the better games college basketball has had this season, finishing off the 13-6 Red Storm 77-68 in an up-and-down affair that had big-time swings. And Madison Square Garden was buzzing throughout, pretty much a 50/50 fan split between Johnnies and Dookies.

"It's a special kind of excitement at the Garden," senior point guard Quinn Cook said. If not for Cook, maybe K is still stuck on 999 instead of toasting inside the Garden's walls.

The home court of St. John's hoops has also served as a de facto secondary gym for Duke and Krzyzewski over the years. The team travels to play in the greater NYC area every season, and Sunday's historic win marked the 26th time Duke's won at MSG under Krzyzewski.

"To do it here, to win the 1000th, you've gotta be a lucky guy," Krzyzewski said. "I like my place, Cameron, but this is a magical place."

If it couldn't be Cameron, it had to be the Garden. Too perfect; of course it happened for Duke and Krzyzewski, and in this way. No streamroll win. No snorer en route to a rout. Duke seemed dead, trailing by 10 with 8:40 remaining. But it took a lead it would not relinquish thanks to a 15-1 run that gave the team a 66-62 lead with 4:07 remaining. St. John's big man Chris Obekpa picked up his fourth foul with 4:07 to go, and SJU was unable to physically challenge Duke down the stretch.

"At halftime, it wasn’t happy,” Krzyzewski said, half-joking. “And that’s the crazy thing about the game. You would not think we were going to win.”

Duke players said in the locker room afterward that Krzyzewski's demeanor in that room with 20 minutes left to play was typically frustrated, perturbed. Positive in nature -- but he was laying into them as if this was any typical kind of day and game.

Tyus Jones' 3-pointer from the corner with 1:15 remaining gave the Blue Devils a 72-65 lead that essentially sealed the game.

Jones, one of the best freshmen in the nation this season, finished with 22 points, six assists and four rebounds. His stellar freshman teammate and frontrunner for Player of the Year, Jahlil Okafor, had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

"We approached it like a regular game," Jones said. "It was more about getting the 17th win of the season."

Krzyzewski didn't mention 1,000, save for a team meeting on Tuesday wherein he prepared his guys for the media blitz to come. But over the past few days, the subject didn't come up.

"The way we saw it, this was one game of 1,000," Amile Jefferson said. "But you could feel a difference. This was bigger than any one of these players in the locker room. It's not just an amazing thing for our sport, but for all sports."

Krzyzewski made sure to mention his mentor, Knight, in addition to giving thanks and praise to the life he's been lucky to lead. He said he's only the first to cross this line in men's hoops, and for that, it's a fun legacy.

"There will be others who will win more," Krzyzewski said. "But it’s kind of neat to be the first one to 1,000."

But whereas Knight was in the building for 903, there was another coaching legend on hand Sunday. Lou Carnesecca, the St. John's coach that made the program a powerhouse in the '80s, brought the Johnnies to a Final Four and finished with 526 career victories.

Carnesecca, now 90 years old, ran into Krzyzewski pre-game.

"I’m used to hearing y’all. He didn’t say any of those things," Krzyzewski said, referring to his North Carolina base and Carnesecca's New York roots. "I love coach Carnesecca and what he’s done for the game. As brothers in his profession, he was coming by. He said, 'Don’t take the chandeliers, and I said, 'You've gotta be kidding me, man. I just hope we can take a ball home. We’ll leave the chandeliers.”

As Krzyzewski left the press conference, he stopped for a minute in the hallway outside to thank a legend in his own right, veteran Associated Press reporter Jim O'Connell. They spoke for a minute, and after the chat was over, Krzyzewski let out a "hooo" as he embraced his wife.

Wearing spotless white sneakers (for Coaches vs. Cancer awareness) he sauntered back to the locker room, trailed by another two dozen media members still scene-grabbing. One thousand came and went. He went into the locker room.

And with that door closing, the last transcendent story of Krzyzewski's career is now open to the floor for discussion.

When's retirement?

 “There’s an end in sight," he said. "I’m going to be 68 next month, and it’ll end sooner than later. But hopefully not real soon."

The only thing left for Krzyzewski to do is the one thing fans and the sport at large want to stave off for as long as possible. Krzyzewski doesn't want any more stories rehashed from the past, and that's all totally fine, but if we're going not going to glance back, we'll be forced to look ahead. Quotes like that last one will have us look to the future and wonder, for a man who's done it all and publicly holds family so dear, when will the latest, greatest, record-making win wind up being his last?

It's the singular remaining major story left to tell. Given how Krzyzewski treated this week and the media crunch around it, it wouldn't be shocking whatsoever if he opted to retire on his own accord: by announcing it some day in the future -- and announcing it for the first time -- after he's coached his final game.

Mike Krzyzewski  (USATSI)
The Duke bench knows Mike Krzyzewski has his 1,000th victory in hand. (USATSI)