Mike Krzyzewski, the most successful college basketball coach ever, and the architect of Duke University’s monster basketball program announced that he will retire at the end of the season. Coach K’s decision to leave Duke will be the end of a 40+ year career as head coach. Since his start in 1980, Coach K has won 1,097 games and five national championships at Duke and become one of the most recognizable figures in sports. Jon Scheyer, Duke’s assistant head coach and one of Krzyzewski’s former players, will succeed Krzyzewski.
Krzyzewski’s departure comes as Duke had a disappointing 2020-2021 season in the NCAA. The school missed the annual March Madness tournament, as a result of the team’s top player opting to draft into the NBA instead of playing college basketball. Despite the most recent season, Krzyzewski’s teams have repeatedly been powers of the Atlantic Coast Conference, where the Blue Devils have won fifteen conference titles and a dozen regular season championships. They did so with a shining blend of players over the years — the likes of Elton Brand, Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, Kyrie Irving, JJ Redick and Zion Williamson — who showed a deep attention to detail and preparation at Krzyzewski’s command.
As intense and demanding as Krzyzewski could be, he was hardly stubborn in his ways. In fact, his career was marked by a willingness to adapt.If his early teams will be defined by defense and rebounding, those qualities were often absent in his more recent teams, which were built around relentless offense keyed by 3-point shooters. Beyond college basketball, Krzyzewski was also the head coach for three American teams at the Olympics, winning gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016.