Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will retire after this coming season, according to a report from Stadium on Wednesday, ending a wildly successful run that began more than 40 years ago and included more than 1,000 wins and five national championships.
Krzyzewski, 74, is the winningest coach in college basketball history with 1,170 victories, with all but 73 coming with the Blue Devils.
After three rebuilding seasons to start his tenure, which began in 1980, Krzyzewski led Duke to the men’s NCAA Tournament in every year but one from 1984 through 2019. Duke went 13-11 during the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 year and failed to reach the tournament for the first time since the 1994-95 season, which Krzyzewski largely missed due to exhaustion and a lingering back injury.
The Blue Devils were the national runner-up in 1986, made back-to-back Final Four trips in 1988 and 1989, again finished second in 1990 and then won back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992. Duke would win titles in 2001, 2010 and 2015.
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Overall, Krzyzewski is tied with John Wooden for the most Final Four appearances with 12 and is second to Wooden with five national championships. All of Duke’s Final Four berths under Krzyzewski came with at least a 64-team tournament bracket. (The men’s tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 and to 68 teams in 2011.)
The Blue Devils won at least 30 games 14 times and at least 20 games in every full season but two since 1984.
A five-time ACC coach of the year, Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to 12 regular-season conference championships and 15 tournament championships.
More than 60 Duke players have been drafted by the NBA under Krzyzewski, three going first overall: Elton Brand in 1999, Kyrie Irving in 2011 and Zion Williamson in 2019. Another dozen players have been drafted in the top five.
The players developed during the Krzyzewski era include a who’s-who list of the biggest names in recent college basketball history, including Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and J.J. Redick, among others.
Duke’s approach to talent evaluation and recruiting mirrored the evolution of college basketball as a whole, with a shift toward more one-and-done talent within the past decade after years of building championship-winning rosters around junior and senior talent.
A two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame – as an individual as an assistant coach on the “Dream Team” that claimed gold at the 1992 Olympic Games – Krzyzewski was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
His imminent retirement opens up one of the most high-profile jobs in all of college sports. Much like rival North Carolina, which replaced longtime coach Roy Williams with former UNC player and assistant coach Hubert Davis, the Blue Devils are expected to stay within the Krzyzewski coaching tree to name his replacement.
Among the former Duke players or assistants in play are Hurley, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker, Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel, Northwestern coach Chris Collins, Central Florida coach Johnny Dawkins, Arizona coach Bobby Hurley and current Duke associate head coach Jon Scheyer. Another possible contender is former Butler coach Brad Stevens, who stepped down Wednesday as coach of the Boston Celtics to take on a position in the franchise’s front office.