Full disclosure: I am a diehard Duke fan. It has been reported by Jeff Goodman that legendary Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will retire following the 2020-21 NCAA basketball season. This is a bitter moment for Duke basketball fans, but at 74 years old, it was only a matter of time before Coach K stepped away.
Mike Krzyzewski Prepares for Retirement Following Season
To talk about Coach K is to talk about Duke basketball. Over the last four decades, Krzyzewski resurrected a Duke basketball program that was nearly non-existent. He took the program to the peak of the college basketball world and established Duke as a perennial power.
During his tenure, Duke won five National Championships, made it to 12 Final Fours, and won 27 ACC titles (regular-season and postseason). Krzyzewski is the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history with 1,132 wins, nearly 1,100 of which coming while in Durham. Several coaches in the women’s game are hot on his heels, but Krzyzewski will hold his men’s record for several years to come.
Coach K registered a 78 percent winning clip and looks to build on that number this season. Duke is trying to bounce back from a bad year in which they missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 25 years. Now, he gets his chance for redemption with a loaded freshman class coming to Durham. Coach K has his sights set on his sixth ring and looks to go out on top. I could write forever about the impact Krzyzewski had at Duke and college basketball, but I will save that for another piece.
With Krzyzewski stepping aside, Duke needs to find someone to fill his shoes. Everyone that knows college basketball knows that Duke will keep that position in the Brotherhood. Basically, for non-Duke fans, if you haven’t played for Duke or coached under Krzyzewski you will not be considered.
Of the list of current college coaches, Tommy Amaker, Johnny Dawkins, Bobby Hurley, Chris Collins, and Jeff Capel will all be considered. Out of that group, Amaker and Dawkins are the most likely. Amaker is a part of that early Duke group that elevated the program to prominence. He is a favorite of Coach K and Duke fans everywhere. Realistically, everyone on this list is a Duke favorite but they all will miss out on the Duke job.
Duke Blue Devils’ Head Coach in Waiting
Jon Scheyer will be the next head coach of the Duke Blue Devils. Yes, Adrian Wojnarowski just reported it, but the writing was on the wall. If you think about it, why would this news come out now if it wasn’t a coach on staff getting promoted? You can’t waste a year of recruiting in the college game so it had to be a current coach. Scheyer has quickly become a monster on the recruiting trail, recently ranking number one on the 247sports recruiting rankings.
Duke talked to outside candidates about replacing Krzyzewski, including Harvard coach Tommy Amaker, sources tell ESPN. Scheyer is Duke's choice to replace K. He was the lead recruiter on such stars as Jayson Tatum and Zion Williamson. https://t.co/6PPi8gVZT8
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2021
Scheyer is part of the new wave of young talent in the coaching ranks. He has a great feel for the game and that was on display while he racked up a National Championship as a player. Coach K raves about Scheyer and how easily he connects to players and families. He will be a home run at Duke. You can write that in stone. Interestingly, Steve Wojciechowski is without a job. Could he rejoin the Duke staff and provide Scheyer with some assistant as a former head coach? It seems likely.
Happy Retirement Coach K
Of course, it is a sad day for all Duke fans. We never thought this time would come, but we knew it eventually would. Coach K will be immortalized forever. This next year is going to be an interesting one, but just know Duke is in good hands. Scheyer is going to be a star and Krzyzewski made sure Duke’s foundation was solidified. Thank you, Coach K, for an incredible four decades. Enjoy retirement, but first, let’s raise another banner!