There are not many bigger scoops in the college basketball world than Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski's upcoming retirement. The man who broke that massive Coach K news earlier this month: Stadium's Jeff Goodman.
Goodman got the jump on the huge retirement scoop, and in the same tweet, reported that assistant Jon Scheyer was the leading candidate to take over for him. That wound up being accurate as well. For a college hoops insider, this had to be a massive thrill.
It may also be a very beneficial one for him personally. Goodman's deal with Stadium is up in few months, according to Awful Announcing. The sports media site caught up with Goodman to discuss the process by which he got the Coach K news. Even as a veteran reporter, he admits that he was extremely nervous to hit send on that first tweet.
As you may remember, the news came down just hours after another huge basketball story—Brad Stevens' move to the Boston Celtics front office to replace Danny Ainge—came down. Goodman, who lives in Boston, was dealing with the fallout from that story, when he got the tip that the Coach K news was coming this week. He says he had a hint that it could be around the corner after Roy Williams' retirement, but that day it fell on his doorstep.
“I had heard rumblings, obviously. When Roy Williams retired, I’d heard rumblings that K was going to be soon thereafter," Goodman said. "And Jon Scheyer interviewed at DePaul. I’ve known Jon for a long time, in fact I broke Jon Scheyer’s commitment years ago, which is nuts. So I’d heard months ago that K was probably going to be not far behind, but I hear that it’s going to happen later in the week, so I start making as many calls as I can."
Goodman says his close, under the radar connections within the "fortress" that is Duke basketball allowed him to break this story. After the initial tip, he confirmed with two other sources to make sure he was getting a story of this magnitude correct. He says because Duke is so tight-lipped, he didn't feel the same pressure to get this one out the door right away though, even with how big Coach K retirement news would be.
“It’s funny, I have a pretty good source within Duke that nobody knows, and I’ve broken a bunch of Duke stuff over the years. Even people within the Duke program are like ‘Where are you getting all this info?’ So I got the first tip, and then I confirmed it, so I had two sources probably a half hour before I broke it. But I’m like ‘All right, it’s still K retiring.’ I know it, I’m 99.9 percent done, but I’m still like ‘It’s K retiring, you can’t ever be wrong on this one. Let me make sure.’ So I got a third source.”
“On a lot of these, you know somebody’s going to break it within five minutes of you if you don’t. But I didn’t feel that pressure on this one, only because Duke is like a fortress. There aren’t really many leaks at Duke. If you look at it, very few people break news at Duke. So it’s almost like ‘Okay, I know I’m okay here for a few minutes.'”
While this is probably the biggest scoop of Goodman's career, he says that didn't totally hit him because of how quickly it came together, in the course of one day, vs. something like his reporting on the Gregg Marshall at Wichita State that took significant time to flesh out. Even so, it doesn't get bigger than Coach K's impending retirement, even if the turn around wasn't quite what other stories require.