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The Guessing Game: Who Replaces Coach K?

Not that he’s in a hurry to garden at the beach.

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2018 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony
Coach K and Duke are so fused that it’s hard to imagine Duke without him.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Either in the spring or just before the season starts, it’s become a tradition for various people to write an article about how long Coach K will continue to coach.

General answer: as long as he wants. Daughter Debbie’s answer in a book a few years ago, not an exact quote but essentially correct: “I sort of hope he coaches until he drops.”

Obviously that’s a child who knows her father loves what he does and is said with respect and affection.

Otherwise it’s a subject of endless fascination for some people. Matt Norlander has his take with the Five Most Likely Replacements angle.

His choices are:

  1. Steve Wojciechowski
  2. Jeff Capel
  3. Chris Collins
  4. Bobby Hurley
  5. Tommy Amaker

You can make an argument for any of them and some people will surely try to put Brad Stevens on the list, but he’s doing well with the Celtics and doesn’t appear in a hurry to leave. That might change as his children get older but who knows?

It’s not smart to overlook the current staff either. Those guys are evaluated constantly and know the players and all the intricacies of the program. The guy who has the most buzz currently is Jon Scheyer, who is widely seen as immensely promising. He’s very young, but so was Coach K when he took the Army job and so was his predecessor Bob Knight.

Quin Snyder got a mention too but he seems happy with the Jazz. Again, who knows what is in a guy’s heart?

We would also put Johnny Dawkins there. He took a step back after leaving Stanford, but someone close to his program confided to us that recruiting there was far more difficult than they had imagined. UCF is a good place to start over and if he does well there we could see him re-emerge as a logical choice.

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