College basketball’s legendary head coaches are leaving the sport one by one. Just months after Roy Williams‘ abrupt retirement from North Carolina, it has been reported that Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, arguably the greatest coach in the sport’s history, will call it a career after one final season at Duke.
Coach K has been at Duke since 1980. Between the Blue Devils and his first head coaching job at Army, he’s amassed an incredible 1,170-361 record, with five national titles, 12 Final Four appearances, 15 ACC Tournament wins and 12 ACC regular season titles. He’s a three-time Naismith Coach of the Year, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame two decades ago.
Both schools have gone in similar directions to replace those legends, as well. North Carolina elevated Hubert Davis to head coach, after years on the bench next to Williams. Per reports, Duke is expected to name assistant Jon Scheyer as Coach K’s heir and head coach-in-waiting.
“Mike’s been fantastic for the game of basketball, he’s been fantastic for college basketball. He’s been fantastic for the ACC, the greatest rivalry in sports is Duke and North Carolina basketball,” Roy Williams said on his longtime rival’s impending retirement. Chapel Fowler of The Fayetteville Observer caught up with Williams today after the news broke:
— Chapel Fowler (@chapelfowler) June 2, 2021
“He’s been a good friend, he’s been a guy I’ve respected a great deal, he made everyone bring their A-game for years and years and years,” Williams continued.
“In the old days it was a little easier, there weren’t as many teams, there weren’t as many teams in the Final Four. I can remember when the ACC was a seven-team league now there’s fifteen. So he’s just been phenomenal in everything he’s done. The only thing wrong with Mike K is that he doesn’t play golf. That’s the only thing wrong with him.”
When asked if he had retirement advice for Coach K after he steps down, Williams joked that he’s only been at this portion of his life for two months and a day.
“You know I’ve seen six little league games, four flag football games, a dance competition, a dance recital, all those kind of things that I’ve missed over the years. But Mike doesn’t need Roy Williams giving him advice. He’s a great family man, he’s going to enjoy his family a great deal, he’ll still be important in college athletics, he’ll still be important to college basketball.
One thing Roy isn’t concerned about: the state of the Duke-UNC rivalry:
The final Duke-UNC game with Mike Krzyzewski on the sideline next March is going to be one of the most special events we’ve had in a long time.