Kevin “Coach K” Lee is one proud college graduate 28 years after a gunshot wound temporarily left him unable to walk or complete his final semester at Saint Augustine’s University — the North Carolina HBCU from which he was set to graduate in 1993 with a degree in economics.

Nearly three decades later and after two years of additional coursework, the Quality Control Music chief operating officer is thrilled to have successfully completed his matriculation in 2020, with a bachelor’s degree in business management. In recognition of his hard work, determination and trailblazing career in music, Saint Augustine’s also bestowed Coach K with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

“I’m still stunned,” he tells Billboard of his achievement, for which he received formal recognition during Saint Augustine’s 2021 Commencement Ceremony on May 1. (An in-person graduation ceremony was not held at SAU’s campus last year in efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid the pandemic.) “It was surreal,” Coach K recalls. “Then to get an honorary doctorate, I was in awe. It was the most beautiful day. I could not stop smiling. I felt my grandma’s spirit so strong.”

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