New Mt. Pleasant boys coach congratulated by Mike Krzyzewski

Thursday, June 29, 2023 | 7:28 PM

Encouragement from family and friends is one thing. But when Mike Krzyzewski gives you his blessing, you go for it.

Annie Malkowiak took a leap of faith when she applied to be the next boys basketball coach at Mt. Pleasant. When she accepted the position, her phone “blew up” with calls and texts from fellow coaches — male ones, female ones, some of them local and at least one who is elite.

“Coach K,” the longtime leader of men’s basketball at Duke, was behind her decision from the tip.

“He texted me and said the boys are fortunate to have me,” Malkowiak said. “That means a lot coming from him. I called him when I was thinking about (applying).

“He is very supportive and has been for several years. I told him I got the job, and he replied in seconds.”

Malkowiak, an avid Duke fan, was put in contact with Krzyzewski in 2009 through some contacts at Cal (Pa.), her alma mater.

Their years-long coaching relationship grew from there.

“I was sick at the time, and some friends wanted to do something nice for me, so they talked to some people and eventually got in touch with Coach K’s personal assistant,” Malkowiak said. “They got tickets to a Duke game. Coach K got word of it all and told them forget the tickets and gave me courtside seats. I ended up meeting him after the game, and we became friends.”

Krzyzewski told Malkowiak if Duke made the Final Four in 2010, she could come along.

“I watched them win the national championship that year,” Malkowiak said. “Coach K has become a great friend, and we talk often. It’s great to meet people like him and know he’s always there for advice or just to talk.”

Krzyzewski, a Naismith Hall of Fame coach, also had Malkowiak attend events with USA Basketball.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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