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Report: Coach K To Retire After Next Season

Stop now and give a little thank you to the Basketball Gods for letting us have him for so long.

Mike Krzyzewski Reaches for Imaginary Notes, After Being Named Head Coach
Mike Krzyzewski at his introductory press conference at Duke in 1980

When Debbie Savarino once said that she hoped her dad “coached until he dropped,” it seemed a bit intense, but we completely understood. We never wanted him to leave. Still, we all knew the day would come when he would stop coaching but it’s still hard to believe he’ll step down after this season.

He’s been at Duke so long - since 1980 - that he seems permanently grafted onto the university’s identity. A few years before he came, Duke still had the squat, party boy Blue Devil logo that it sported in the 1960s.

Now? The Blue Devil has actually started to look like Coach K and has for some time. We don’t think anyone did it on purpose, but that’s how deeply he has ingrained himself into Duke’s identity.

His accomplishments on the court are staggering - five national titles, 12 Final Fours, 15 ACC championships, and 12 ACC regular season titles.

He’s redefined Duke athletics, taking us from a very good regional program that would be comparable to where a school like Xavier or Butler is today to a world-famous, iconic program that people know in Serbia, China and the rest of the world.

As great as that has been, his impact on the university overall has been even bigger. Duke Basketball has had a huge effect on admissions, on fundraising, on global prestige. His turn with the national team also helped Duke immensely.

And it should be said that his commitment to Duke has been unwavering. He’s been generous with his time and with helping the athletics department and the university wherever he can.

Beyond that, mostly out of the limelight, the man has show enormous compassion for countless people who are struggling in many ways. It’s a much quieter part of his legacy - he’s never shouted about it - but we’ve seen dozens of articles about people who he helped, often without being asked.

In 1980, Mike Krzyzewski came to Duke with an unpronounceable name and advised people to just simplify and call him Coach K.

As he nears the end of his legendary career, we still call him Coach K. But now everyone knows the name Krzyzewski and will for as long as we talk about basketball. He’s been an amazing coach and man. We’ve been so very blessed to have him for this long and we wish him a long and happy retirement with his family.

We’ll have more on this obviously, including succession talk, but that’s not right now. Instead, for just a bit, let’s think about how damn lucky we have been to have had him as our head coach for so long.