Moments ago, the monumental news dropped that Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski will retire following the 2021-22 season. He will reportedly be replaced by former Blue Devils star and current assistant Jon Scheyer.
It is no surprise that Coach K wants to keep things in the family after he leaves. While he’s had plenty of assistants go on to be head coaches, none have emerged as an obvious candidate to replace him and take over one of the biggest programs in the country.
Scheyer, who turns just 34 years old will get that chance. Had he not taken on the responsibility, Krzyzewski was reportedly interested in naming two of his former assistants with a bit more experience to the role.
Jeff Goodman, who broke the initial Coach K retirement news, says that Tommy Amaker and Johnny Dawkins were being “seriously considered” for the role. Both have had success as head coaches, but would have raised questions due to less-than-stellar results at other Power Five programs.
The two other names that Duke/Coach K was seriously considering before choosing Jon Scheyer was Tommy Amaker and Johnny Dawkins, source told @Stadium.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) June 2, 2021
Amaker played for Duke from 1983-87, and joined the staff from 1988-97. He took over at Seton Hall as head coach in 1997, leading the Pirates to the Sweet 16 in 2000. He parlayed that success into the job at Michigan, where he went 108-84, with a 43-53 Big Ten record. He failed to reach the NCAA Tournament with the Wolverines, making three NITs before being fired.
He quickly rebounded at Harvard, where he’s turned the Crimson into an Ivy League power and a legitimate factor in March. Harvard reached the NCAA Tournament every year from 2012-15, making the Round of 32 twice. He’s had success recruiting blue-chip talent to the school, something hard to fathom 10 years ago.
Dawkins overlapped with him at Duke as a player, playing point guard from 1982-86. After a 10-year NBA career, he joined Coach K’s staff in 1998, and was named associate head coach in 1999, a job he held until 2008. He left for the head coaching job at Stanford, leading the Cardinal to the NCAA Tournament in year six. The team made a surprise run to the Sweet 16, but he was let go after two Tournament-less years after.
In 2016, he landed at UCF, and in 2019, his Knights nearly knocked off his alma mater in the Round of 32, falling narrowly to Zion Williamson and company 77-76 in a very controversial finish.
Ultimately, Mike Krzyzewski has put his faith in a first-time head coach-to be in Jon Scheyer. He’ll have plenty of resources behind him, and immense talent, but the pressure will be serious.