Skip to main content

Coach K stepping down at Duke

Arguably the most influential coach in college athletics will retire after the 2021-22 season.

This coming season will be Mike Krzyzewski's last at Duke. Stadium's Jeff Goodman first reported the news, which has since been confirmed by all the major insiders. A formal announcement is forthcoming, and associate head coach Jon Scheyer is expected to be named head coach-in-waiting.

To say this represents the end of an era would be a massive understatement. 

Krzyzewski, 74, coached his first game at Duke in November 1980, the same month Ronald Reagan won his first Presidential election -- the same Reagan who served two terms, left office 32 years ago and died 17 years ago. 

Duke named Cameron Indoor Stadium's playing surface after Coach K in 2000.

He enters his final season at 1,097-302 at Duke. Including his five seasons at Army, Coach K's career record is 1,170-361. He stands as the winningest coach in college basketball history, and his .764 lifetime winning percentage is fifth among all coaches with at least 1,000 games on the sideline -- all the more impressive considering K's record hovered around .500 until his ninth season on the bench.

His trophy case includes five national titles, 12 Final Fours, 27 ACC regular season/tournament championships and six national coach of the year awards. He single handedly forged Duke basketball into a national brand, driving the a school with no titles and four Final Fours prior to his arrival into the conversation of the most prestigious program in college basketball.

Coach K also revived the USA Basketball brand, leading the US men's national team to gold medals at the 2008, '12 and '16 Olympics, as well as gold medals at the 2010 and '14 FIBA world championships. 

Despite zero NBA experience, Coach K's living legend status was such that USA Basketball leadership knew only he had the cache to get the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and co. on the same page following a sixth-place finish at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Beyond his accomplishments on the court, Krzyzewski is an icon in the coaching world and a role model for many leaders across sports and industries. A few of his selected quotes from

“Don’t take your culture for granted. There needs to be a constant renewal of values that lead to camaraderie.”

“Making shots counts, but not as much as the people who make them.”

“A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportional amount of time on “x’s and o’s” as compared to time spent learning about people.”

“Confrontation simply means meeting the truth head-on.”

“In our program, the truth is the basis of all that we do. There is nothing more important than the truth because there’s nothing more powerful than the truth. Consequently, on our team, we always tell one another the truth. We must be honest with one another. There is no other way.”

Roy Williams stepped away from North Carolina in April and has been replaced by another former player-turned-assistant coach in Hubert Davis, and so college basketball's marquee rivalry is heading to a new era.