Mike Krzyzewski, Celebrated Duke Coach, Will Retire After Coming Season
Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in men’s college basketball and the architect of Duke University’s juggernaut program, will retire at the end of the coming season, he said Wednesday.
Krzyzewski, who will turn 75 next winter and has tallied 1,170 total wins, has led the Duke program since 1980. Often referred to simply as “Coach K,” he has won 1,097 games and five national championships there and become one of the most recognizable figures in sports.
“My family and I view today as a celebration,” the coach, who led Army for five seasons before his arrival in Durham, N.C., said in a statement. “Our time at both West Point and Duke has been beyond amazing and we are thankful and honored to have led two college programs at world-class institutions for more than four decades.”
Krzyzewski did not cite a reason for his retirement but is expected to hold a news conference on Thursday morning on Duke’s campus.
Jon Scheyer, Duke’s associate head coach and one of Krzyzewski’s former players, will succeed Krzyzewski.
Although Duke faltered in this most recent season, Krzyzewski’s teams have repeatedly been powers of the Atlantic Coast Conference, where the Blue Devils have won 15 conference tournaments and a dozen regular season championships. They did so with a dazzling blend of players over the years — the likes of Elton Brand, Grant Hill, Kyrie Irving, JJ Redick and Zion Williamson — who showed a prodigious attention to detail and preparation at Krzyzewski’s command.
“We get back early in the morning, maybe 2, 3 in the morning, and he goes and watches film for a couple hours and then he goes home, he sleeps for a couple of hours, and then comes back to the gym in the morning to watch some more film for the next game,” Andre Dawkins, a Duke guard, said in 2011, when Krzyzewski was on the brink of the record for most wins in Division I men’s basketball. “When he does stuff like that, I can’t complain about getting up and coming to practice every day.”
Before he worked at Army, his alma mater, Krzyzewski was an assistant at Indiana under Bob Knight. Beyond college basketball, Krzyzewski was also the head coach for three American teams at the Olympics, capturing gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
“For four decades, Coach K has been the standard in our profession,” Scott Drew, the Baylor coach who in April won his first national championship, said in a text message on Wednesday, after Stadium first reported Krzyzewski’s intentions. “We have a lot of great coaches, but there is only Coach K.”
Krzyzewski’s decision comes just more than two months after his longtime rival, Roy Williams of North Carolina, announced his retirement from coaching. U.N.C. soon hired Hubert Davis as his successor.
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