Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski on Thursday discussed the perceived reasons for his planned retirement following the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.
Then the 74-year-old addressed the exact reason why he is calling it a career.
“You might ask about why we’re doing this. This is not about health. … It’s not about COVID, or why (last) year was so bad,” Krzyzewski said Thursday at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. “It’s certainly not about what’s going on in college basketball, or that the game is changing. All right, I’ve been in this for 46 years, you mean to tell me that the game has never changed?
“The progression of the game, we’ve always had to adapt. To the changes in culture, to changes in rules to the changes in the world. … That’s not the reason. Those aren’t the reasons.
“… The reason we’re doing this is because Mickie (his wife) and I decided the journey is gonna be over in a year. And we’re gonna go after it as hard as we possibly can.”
Krzyzewski has recorded 1,170 victories — more than any coach in men’s college basketball history — and five national championships during a career that began at Army in 1975. He posted a 73-59 record during his five years with Army before joining Duke for the 1980-81 season.
Krzyzewski guided the Blue Devils to 12 Final Four appearances, including NCAA championships in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015.
A three-time Naismith College Coach of the Year and five-time ACC Coach of the Year, Krzyzewski was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. He also coached the United States men’s national team to three Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012, 2016).
“I’m a lucky guy,” Krzyzewski said. “And we’re going to go for it as much as possible, as much as we can this year, and we’re going to try to return this place into being what it’s supposed to be. And then we’ll be able to walk away to another part of what we’re doing.”
Duke, however, is coming off a difficult season in 2020-21. The Blue Devils finished with a 13-11 mark and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995.
“I’m not going to change what I do this year, neither are those guys, my staff,” Krzyzewski said. “We’re going to go after it like we normally go after it.”
Duke associate head coach Jon Scheyer, who played for Krzyzewski from 2006-10, has been named his successor. He will spend the 2021-22 season as a coach-in-waiting before taking over the reins.