Yesterday, Duke University announced that Mike Krzyzewski, the man who is the winningest coach in Division I College Basketball history, will retire at the end of the 2021-22 season. The announcement comes two months after former North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams announced his retirement. Coach K, as he is known in the college hoops world, has led Duke to five national championships in 41 seasons at the helm of the Duke basketball program.
His five national titles are the second most, behind John Wooden who won 10 titles at UCLA. Not only did Krzyzewski command the Duke program, but he also rescued USA basketball after an embarrassing third place finish at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece. He led Team USA to three straight gold medals in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics.
Jon Scheyer Named Coach K Successor
Former Duke player Jon Scheyer, who has been on Coach K’s coaching staff since 2013, has been named the successor to the long-time coach. Scheyer was also a very good player at Duke, from 2006-10. He is the only player in Duke history to reach 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists, 250 three-pointers and 200 steals. As a senior in 2010, he averaged 18.2 points per game and was named a second-team All-American. The coach in waiting was the lead recruiter for NBA star Jayson Tatum, and class of 2021 number three overall prospect Paolo Banchero. As hard as it is for me to say, Duke made the smart choice by hiring Scheyer. Whereas, North Carolina did not in the selection of Hubert Davis.
Scheyer, as previously stated, is clearly a great recruiter. Banchero committing to Duke is especially impressive, considering they were recruiting against the G-League. Scheyer is a young guy who understands the college basketball landscape as it is right now.
Krzyzewski Won’t Be The Last
Jeff Goodman, the man who broke the news, posted this tweet later in the day. I believe it carries a lot of weight. You have to look back at the Roy Williams retirement, and what he said about his retirement. During his speech, he said he doesn’t think he’s a the right man for the job anymore. That ending leaves a lot up to speculation, but I take it as he doesn’t want to coach and recruit against the NBA and the Transfer Portal. College basketball is changing at a rapid rate. It is expected that the “one-and-done” rule will be a gone in a few years, and players will be able to head straight for the NBA Draft. On top of that, the Transfer Portal for college basketball has been insane.
After the pandemic, everyone got a free year of eligibility. Right now there is about 1,000 players in the transfer portal. They will be granted immediate eligibility when they find their destination. Recruiting used to be all about the prestige of the school, and how good a coach was at recruiting. Now, you’re not only recruiting against other schools, but you’re also recruiting against the G-League. High school seniors can join the G-League directly out of high school and prepare for the NBA while also raking in some money. On the other hand, if you successfully recruit a player to your school, you have to basically keep recruiting him or he will transfer.
The college basketball landscape could change more in the next five years than in the previous 50 years. It would not surprise me if guys like Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim and even Tom Izzo decide they aren’t the right man for the job anymore and retire. Coaching college basketball is becoming a young man’s game.
Coach K By The Numbers
47: Years Coached. He started his career at West Point, before coming to Duke in 1980.
1,170: Number of Wins in Coach K’s Career
5: National Titles Coach K Won
3: Naismith College Coach of the Year Awards
72: Number of NBA players Coach K and Duke produced
At the end of the day, Coach K will go down as possibly the second-best college basketball coach of all-time. He would only be behind John Wooden, in my opinion. However, there is an argument to be had if Coach K’s career was actually better than Wooden’s. Overall, after the 2021-22 college hoops season, it’s safe to say basketball in the state of North Carolina will never be the same again.