Mike Krzyzewski, the legendary head coach of Duke University’s men’s basketball team, will be retiring after the 2021-2022 season, he announced on Wednesday. Jon Scheyer, a 33-year-old co-head coach, will succeed Krzyzewski in 2022.
“My family and I consider this day a celebration,” Krzyzewski said in a statement. “Our time at both West Point and Duke has been incredible and we are grateful and honored to have directed two college programs at world-class institutions for more than four decades.”
“Of course, I’ve been fortunate enough to coach some of the best young men and players in basketball history as a direct result of these unique opportunities. There is no greater joy for us than being part of our players’ respective efforts through basketball – and more importantly is their life outside of court, “added the statement.
“Our family is eternally grateful to everyone who has contributed to our careers over the past 46 years. Therefore, many thanks to the countless members of our extended family.”
Krzyzewski, 74, affectionately known as Coach K, has more career wins than any other basketball coach in Division 1 history, boasting a record 1,170-361. He led the Duke Blue Devils to five national championships, 12 Final Four appearances and 15 ACC championships.
Krzyzewski was born in Chicago in 1947. He later attended West Point and served as the captain of the academy’s basketball team in his senior year. He graduated in 1969 and became the program’s head coach in 1974, where he led the team to a 73-59 record over five years.
In 1980, Coach K moved to Duke University as the head coach of the men’s basketball team and spent the next 41 seasons building the program into a powerhouse. In 2005, he became the head coach of the U.S. national team and helped the team win three Olympic gold medals in what years – making him the first coach to do so.
“I have no hesitation in saying that Mike Krzyzewski is the greatest coach in the history of men’s college basketball,” Duke President Vincent E. Price said in a statement.
Krzyzewski’s résumé is piled with coaching awards, including three Naismith College Coach of the Year awards in 1989, 1992, and 1999.
He will be replaced by Scheyer, who played for Duke from 2006 to 2010 and was on the coaching staff for eight years. In 2018 he was promoted to Associate Head Coach. The university said Scheyer will become the first person in Division I men’s basketball history to be named head coach after winning national titles as a player (2010) and assistant coach (2015) at their alma mater.
“Duke University has been a central part of my life for more than a decade and I couldn’t ask for a better place to continue my career,” Scheyer said in a statement. “That is absolutely humiliating. First of all, I would like to be extremely grateful to the greatest coach of all time, whose career in basketball has no equal. Coach K has built the premier program in our sport thanks to his unwavering competitive advantage, relentless attention to detail, family orientation and remarkable compassion and care for his players, coaches and staff. He set a standard that every coach at every level should strive for. ”
“It is an honor to call this great institution my alma mater and I am determined to promote its academic and athletic excellence while continuing the legacy of the Duke Basketball Championship.”
Former Duke players tweeted emotional reactions to news of Kryzewski’s expected departure.
Harvard University basketball coach Tommy Amaker said in a statement he was honored to have played and worked for Kryzewski and “played a small part in his unprecedented success”. Amaker was a four year old starter at point guard for Kryzewski and stayed with the team for nine years after graduating. In 2001 he was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame.
“I’ve always said that Coach K was my best teacher when I was with Duke. As I get older I realize how powerful that statement is, and I know so many people who have played for him are as well think. “, said Amaker.” There are few people who not only leave the footprint in basketball, but also in the world of sports, which the coach leaves.
Jay Bilas, an ESPN college basketball analyst who joined Duke for four years from 1982 to 1986, tweeted a video response to the news describing a “surge of emotion” over Kryzewski.
“It’s the end of an era … we’ve never seen anything like it in the history of American sport and it’s hard to put into words,” said Bilas. “… I think it’s the most impactful coaching career we’ve ever seen, honestly because it has lasted so long at such an excellent level.”
“It will be the hardest act in the history of the sport.”
Bilas said he has known Kryzewski since he was 17 and that his relationship with his former coach was “the most important and impactful” of his life, apart from his family.
“I don’t know whether to congratulate coach K or just say thank you,” said Bilas. “Thank you for everything you’ve done, not just for the game but for me personally. I owe you everything.”