Legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced on Wednesday evening that he has decided to retire after the 2021–22 season.
Stadium's Jeff Goodman was the first to report the news.
"My family and I view today as a celebration," said Krzyzewski in the press release. "Our time at both West Point and Duke has been beyond amazing and we are thankful and honored to have led two college programs at world-class institutions for more than four decades. That, coupled with 11 unforgettable years as the United States National Team coach, has resulted in a remarkable journey. Certainly, I have been blessed to coach some of the finest young men and greatest players in basketball history as a direct result of these unique opportunities.
"For us, there is no greater joy than being part of our players' respective endeavors through basketball, and more importantly, their lives off the court. Our family is eternally grateful to everyone who contributed to our career for the past 46 years. So, to the countless members of our extended family, thank you very much."
Krzyzewski, 74, will enter his 42nd season at Duke this year, having won five national championships, made 12 Final Four appearances and been named to the Naismith Hall of Fame during his tenure.
Krzyzewski became the Division I men's career wins leader during the 2011–12 season and earned his 1,000th career victory in 2015, becoming the first Division I men’s basketball coach to achieve a four-figure win total. He will enter next season having amassed 1,170 wins in his career, 1,097 of which came at Duke.
Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde reported that assistant coach and former Duke player Jon Scheyer will be Krzyzewski's successor. The program announced Wednesday evening that he will be the head coach beginning with the 2022-23 season.
"The continuation of our culture at Duke is paramount to future success," said Krzyzewski about Scheyer. "That is why I am so grateful that President Vincent Price, Kevin White and Nina King determined that Jon Scheyer represents our best path forward. 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. Jon is a rising star in our profession and Duke Basketball could not be in better hands in the future."
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Duke also talked to outside candidates about replacing Krzyzewski, including Harvard coach Tommy Amaker.
Krzyzewski will retire having recorded one of the most impressive résumés in all of coaching. In addition to his success at Duke, he also led the U.S. men's basketball team to three consecutive gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
"I really feel that whatever he chose to be—a politician or a minister or a businessperson or a philanthropist or whatever—that he'd be amazing," former Duke star Grant Hill told Sports Illustrated in 2011 when Krzyzewski and Tennessee coach Pat Summitt were named the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year. "Good leaders accomplish great things. He's this amazing leader who happens to coach basketball."
Krzyzewski's first collegiate head coaching job came at Army, his alma mater, where he led the program to winning seasons in four of his five years. He left the Black Knights following the 1980 season and took over a Duke program that had been previously coached by Bill Foster.
While the Blue Devils failed to make the NCAA tournament in each of Krzyzewski's first two seasons, he missed the NCAA tournament only twice more in the coming decades, with last year's missed tournament appearance being the program's first since 1995.
Duke's 24-season streak had been the third-longest in NCAA history, trailing North Carolina (27) and Kansas (30).
"While our season was different than any other that I can remember, I loved the 2020–21 Duke Basketball team and was honored to be their coach," Krzyzewski said in a statement after the team pulled out of last year's ACC tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test. "We have not asked more of any team in our history, and they deserve enormous credit for handling everything like the outstanding young men they are."
Krzyzewski and Duke are poised to rebound next season, after bringing in the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation. The star-studded group is highlighted by forwards Paolo Banchero and A.J. Griffin, and guards Trevor Keels and Jaylen Blakes.
News of his forthcoming retirement also comes just months removed from the retirement of longtime North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who announced news of his departure on April 1.
When news of Williams's retirement broke, Krzyzewski said that, "College basketball is losing one of its greatest coaches and a man who genuinely cares about the game of basketball, and more importantly, the people who play it."
It echoed what Sports Illustrated's Alexander Wolff wrote of Krzyzewski and Summitt in 2011: "In their respective modulations, they've chosen not to overlook half of what it means to be human. And by doing so they double the chance that they'll unlock what human beings are capable of."
From the SI Vault:
- From 2011 — Sportsman of the Year: Mike Krzyzewski/Sportswoman of the Year: Pat Summitt
- From 1992 — Blue Angel: Coach K's Divine Spirit and Working-Class Ethics Have Forged an Exemplary Program
- From 2005 — The Duke Way: A Fabulous Freshman Class has the Blue Devils Ranked No. 1, But Those Frosh Are in for Vigorous Training in Coach K Culture