Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in men’s college basketball and the architect of Duke University’s juggernaut program, will retire at the end of the coming season, he said Wednesday.
His decision will leave the men’s basketball program at Duke with its first new head coach since 1980, when Krzyzewski, who has tallied 1,170 total wins, took his place in Durham, N.C. Krzyzewski, often referred to simply as “Coach K,” has won 1,097 games and five national championships at Duke and become one of the most recognizable figures in sports.
“My family and I view today as a celebration,” Krzyzewski, who led Army for five seasons before his hiring at Duke, said in a statement. “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.”
Krzyzewski did not cite a reason for his retirement but was expected to hold a news conference on Thursday morning on Duke’s campus.
Jon Scheyer, Duke’s associate head coach and one of Krzyzewski’s former players, will succeed Krzyzewski.
Duke faltered in the 2020-21 season, missing the N.C.A.A. tournament for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign as its top player opted to focus on the N.B.A. draft instead of playing college basketball during the coronavirus pandemic. Still, Krzyzewski’s teams have repeatedly been powers of the Atlantic Coast Conference, where the Blue Devils have won 15 conference tournaments and a dozen regular season championships across his tenure. They did so with a dazzling blend of players over the years — the likes of Elton Brand, Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, Kyrie Irving, JJ Redick and Zion Williamson — who showed a prodigious attention to detail and preparation at Krzyzewski’s command.
“We get back early in the morning, maybe 2, 3 in the morning, and he goes and watches film for a couple hours and then he goes home, he sleeps for a couple of hours, and then comes back to the gym in the morning to watch some more film for the next game,” Andre Dawkins, a Duke guard, said in 2011, when Krzyzewski was on the brink of breaking the record for the most wins in Division I men’s basketball. “When he does stuff like that, I can’t complain about getting up and coming to practice every day.”
As intense and demanding as Krzyzewski could be, he was hardly intractable. In fact, his career was marked by a willingness to adapt.
If his early teams will be defined by defense and rebounding, those qualities were often absent in his more recent teams, which were built around relentless offense keyed by 3-point shooters.
Before he worked at Army, his alma mater, Krzyzewski was an assistant at Indiana under Bob Knight, whom he passed to set the wins record. Beyond college basketball, Krzyzewski was also the head coach for three American teams at the Olympics, winning gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
“For four decades, Coach K has been the standard in our profession,” Scott Drew, the Baylor coach who in April won his first national championship, said in a text message on Wednesday, after Stadium first reported Krzyzewski’s intentions. “We have a lot of great coaches, but there is only one Coach K.”
Krzyzewski’s decision comes just more than two months after his longtime rival, Roy Williams of North Carolina, announced his retirement from coaching. U.N.C. soon hired Hubert Davis, who played at the school before his N.B.A. career, as his successor.