The happiest man at the Final Four in Seattle, next to Jim Harrick and Nolan Richardson, of course, is Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is out among the college basketball public for the first time in months, moonlighting as a CBS analyst.
"I'm really excited. I'm excited as I have been when I've brought a team here. This has been incredibly frustrating, not being a part of college basketball," said Krzyzewski, during a recent teleconference.
Krzyzewski, who will join host Pat O'Brien and commentator Quinn Buckner during tonight's pre-game and halftime segments, only received permission late last week from his doctors to make the cross-country flight from Durham, N.C., to the Pacific Northwest.
"Usually at this time of the year, I'm dead, but I'm really excited. I hope they don't ask me too many tough questions," said Krzyzewski.
In case you've forgotten, Krzyzewski, who coached the Blue Devils to national titles in 1991 and 1992, missed most of this season when he attempted to rush back too soon from back surgery to correct a bulging disk and resulting nerve damage that weakened his left leg.
Krzyzewski said his regimen had been fairly light until a couple of weeks ago, when he made a three-hour drive to Williamsburg, Va., to see his daughter, Lindy, a high school senior, participate in a cheerleading competition.
When he returned home, Krzyzewski said he had a "good feeling," adding that his leg has returned to nearly 100 percent, giving him the ability to get out and run.
With the medical OK, Krzyzewski could accept CBS' invitation to work the Final Four, a role he filled in New Orleans two years ago. The network had approached him about doing analysis for the tournament selection show, but Krzyzewski said he felt the timing wasn't right.
"I love the people at CBS," said Krzyzewski. Then referring to the parody of the beer ad centered around the guy with the funny last name, he said, "I just hope they don't ask me to do that Galackiewicz thing. I'm tired of people asking, 'Aren't you the guy doing all those commercials?' Yeah, and I coach at Duke, too."
Meanwhile in Minneapolis
Bob Sansevere, a columnist with the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, made an interesting point the other day, taking Sports Illustrated to task for devoting 13 pages in its current issue to the men's Final Four, while skipping the women's version of same.
Sansevere also blasted ESPN for sending a huge chunk of its Bristol, Conn., crew to Seattle, while dispatching one reporter, Greg Garber, to Minneapolis. However, Sansevere's column might have been totally righteous if he hadn't misspelled the name of Sheryl Swoopes, probably the most recognized name in the women's game, who just last week became only the second athlete associated with Nike to have a shoe named for him or her.
By the way, Swoopes did a nice job as pre-game and halftime analyst for CBS' women's Final Four coverage. With a little work, she'll make a good television commentator, once her playing days are over.
Don't forget: Stan "The Fan" Charles makes his debut on WWLG (1360 AM) tonight, just after the conclusion of the Spirit TTC playoff game. Ted Patterson's new show on WWLG will premier either tomorrow or Wednesday, depending on how the Spirit fares in the playoffs.
A belated welcome aboard to Larry Beil, the newest member of ESPN's "SportsCenter" family. Beil, 34, comes to the network from KTVU-TV in Oakland, Calif., and had done play-by-play for a number of college basketball teams, including the University of Hawaii, when he worked at Honolulu's KGMB-TV.
Also, William "Rece" Davis has joined ESPN2 as a "SportSmash" anchor. Davis, 29, has done stints in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Columbus, Ga.; and most recently, in Flint, Mich., before coming to "The Deuce."
Last, and certainly least, the boorish John McEnroe has re-upped with NBA for a reported five years behind the microphones at the network's Grand Slam tennis events, including Wimbledon and the French Open. McEnroe joined NBC in 1992, and will continue to provide commentary on cable's USA Network.