John Danowski is in an unprecedented position. Though on the eve of a national championship, the Duke squad is in many ways not “his” team—he recruited none of the players; his predecessor, Mike Pressler, was unfairly fired and retained the team’s loyalty; and the players themselves had been abandoned by their administration and vilified by many of their professors.
No one who has watched Danowski’s dealings with the press over the past several days could not have been impressed with how he has handled the situation.
Rather than minimize Pressler’s role on the team, he has celebrated it—even terming himself a “caretaker.” Aaron Beard’s daily story from the Final Four notes that Danowski invited Pressler to address the team, while minimizing his own success: “I felt this was a great challenge, but also a great opportunity to do some good.”
His opposing coach in tomorrow’s championship game, Dave Pietramala, has high praise indeed:
I think he was the perfect guy for that job. John Danowski has something that no other human being as a coach could bring to that team, and that's a firsthand understanding of what those young men have been through. He knows those kids. They know him, too.You can read Beard’s full article here.