Duke’s Krzyzewski to coach one final year, hand off to Scheyer
Published 5:51 am Friday, June 4, 2021
By Aaron Beard, AP Basketball Writer
Mike Krzyzewski will make a final run at a national championship with Duke.
The Hall of Famer and winningest coach in the history of Division I men’s basketball announced Wednesday that next season will be his last with the Blue Devils program he has built into one of college basketball’s bluebloods. The school also named former Duke player and associate head coach Jon Scheyer as Krzyzewski’s successor for the 2022-23 season.
“My family and I view today as a celebration,” Krzyzewski said in a statement released Wednesday evening.
Stadium first reported news of the 74-year-old Krzyzewski’s final season with Duke, which he has led to five national championships, most recently in 2015. He has 1,170 career wins going back to his time at Army, with 1,097 wins coming during 41 years with the Blue Devils and their frantic fans who have made playing at famously hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium so difficult.
Now Krzyzewski will have make a final lap — “The Last Ride,” as the program billed it in a social-media post — around the Atlantic Coast Conference and the sport where he has piled up an incredible run of success before handing off to Scheyer, currently 33.
“He is clearly ready for this opportunity and has shown it repeatedly throughout his playing career and as a coach on our staff the past eight seasons,” Krzyzewski said. “Jon is a rising star in our profession and Duke basketball could not be in better hands in the future.”
The school scheduled a news conference for Krzyzewski on Thursday at Cameron, followed by one Friday for Scheyer.
Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to 12 Final Four appearances and a record 15 ACC Tournament championships, while his teams have spent a record 126 weeks ranked at No. 1 in the AP men’s college basketball poll.
Hired at Duke in March 1980, “Coach K” won national championships in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015. He broke Army mentor Bob Knight’s career victory record in November 2011.
Krzyzewski has tailored his approach to adapt with the times and his personnel. He won that 2010 title with a senior-laden roster, then claimed the 2015 one after pivoting to more “one-and-done” talent that headed to the NBA after a lone college season.
His image became synonymous both with the elite private university in Durham, North Carolina, and the sport as a whole. And along the way, he took over the U.S. men’s national team — with NBA All-Star rosters featuring names such as the late Kobe Bryant and LeBron James — and led it to Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, London in 2012 and Rio de Janiero in 2016.
“What he means to the countless players he has coached, both collegiately and professionally, is simply immeasurable,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement.
Duke missed the NCAA Tournament this past season for the first time since 1995, but the Blue Devils welcome one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for the coming season.
Scheyer played for Krzyzewski from 2006-10, with his last season resulting in his mentor’s fourth NCAA title. Scheyer joined the Duke staff for the 2013-14 season and rose to his current role following the 2017-18 season.
Scheyer served as interim coach last year for Duke when Krzyzewski was sidelined for a January win against Boston College due to COVID-19 protocols. Scheyer has never been a college head coach.
“Duke University has been a central part of my life for more than a decade, and I could not ask for a better place to continue my career,” Scheyer said in a statement. “This is absolutely humbling … (Krzyzewski) has set a standard that every coach at every level should strive to achieve.”
The news comes almost two months to the day that another Hall of Famer in the state — UNC Chapel Hill’s Roy Williams — announced his retirement after 33 seasons as a head coach with Kansas and the rival Tar Heels. UNC also turned to a former player on the bench, elevating Hubert Davis to take over in his first time as a major college head coach.