DURHAM, N.C. -- There are a few high-profile examples of people with close ties to both Duke and UNC.
The Capel brothers, Jeff and Jason, suited up on different sides of the rivalry, while actor and comedian Ken Jeong attended Duke as an undergraduate student and UNC medical school. But there may be nobody who has such a distinct connection to the head coaches leading these programs into Saturday's Final Four as Bob Seigle.
When Chicago native Mike Krzyzewski was a plebe at West Point, he practiced alongside Seigle.
"He was a freshman when I was a senior, and freshmen were not allowed to play that year. So I joke with him, if he would have played, I wouldn't have," joked Seigle.
Nearly a decade later, it was Seigle who was part of a group on the athletic board that recommended Krzyzewski for the then-vacant head coaching job at Army.
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"The three of us stood up and said look, this is really a good kid," said Seigle, referring to himself, Col. Tom Rogers and general officer Richard "Dick" Chilcoat. "We managed to cobble (his credentials) together and get those grizzled O6s (colonels) to sit still and to include Mike in the (search)."
That input played a role in Krzyzewski landing the job, his first as a head coach.
"None of them could pronounce his name. It was just like the rest of the world at the time when the announcement was made. 'Krazewski,' just everything," Seigle recalled.
His time at Army, where he compiled a 73-59 record, helped prepare him to become Duke's head coach in 1980; Rogers joined Krzyzewski's staff at Duke as an assistant where he served for seven seasons before transitioning to a role of special assistant to the athletics director.
Of course, now Krzyzewski is a household name, one which people can pronounce.
"I congratulated Mike on getting to the Final Four again. And that's when I reminded him of us painting the locker rooms at West Point. I said, 'you've come a long way, buddy,'" Seigle said of a recent conversation.
Still, as UNC finished off its win this past Sunday against St. Peter's to clinch its spot in the Final Four, Seigle felt conflicted.
"Well, my initial reaction is 'oh no, I don't like this,'" Seigle said.
That's because his daughter Leslie is married to UNC's first-year head coach, Hubert Davis.
"He has been nothing short of being just a great guy, a good father, and a good Christian man," said Seigle.
Davis grew up just a couple of blocks away from Seigle's family, and the pair both attended UNC, where Davis was a star under Dean Smith before embarking on a career in the NBA.
He would return to UNC as an assistant coach under Roy Williams in 2012, before being tapped to replace Williams as head coach last April. The announcement made Davis, who had previously never been a head coach, the leader of the third-winningest program in NCAA history.
"We are just extremely proud of everything they've put up with. Because we got a little glimpse inside of how big-time college athletics work. Not everyone was as thrilled with Hubert being selected to be the coach of Carolina as we were. But we were very proud of him. I talked to Mike about that, and Mike said 'he is a good guy,'" said Seigle.
Seigle will be watching Saturday's showdown from his home.
So, who do you root for?
"All of our family is very much in favor of just a good college basketball game. We hate to see games that I describe as a track meet, where one team is running, and the other team is just keeping score," Seigle said.
Krzyzewski has long been proud of his ties to West Point, where he married his wife, Mickie, on the day he graduated in 1969. Prior to entering coaching, Krzyzewski served as an officer in the US Army. His first coaching job was as an assistant for Bobby Knight, his head coach when he played for Army. In 2009, he was inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame.
After a decorated military career, Seigle retired with the rank of colonel from the Army in 1993. During his service, he commanded combat forces overseas in Vietnam and during Desert Storm. In 2000, he co-founded Capital Consulting Group Corp.
Seigle's eldest daughter attended Duke and worked in the athletics department, while two other daughters attended UNC. His son Bobby, who now works for CCGC, attended the University of South Carolina as an undergraduate and Texas Tech University as a graduate student. While in Lubbock, he served as a graduate assistant on Bobby Knight's staff.
Bob Seigle, Coach K's former teammate and Hubert Davis' father-in-law, has a conflicted Final Four
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