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Former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is enjoying retirement.
Speaking to The Athletic’s Brendan Marks, Krzyzewski said he’s “moved on, in a good way” from the rigors of coaching college basketball.
“I gave my all last year, and I think we had a great year,” he said of his final season with the Blue Devils. “People talk about, we lost at the end—that was not a year that we lost. You know, we put two banners up. The thing about losing was, we didn’t get a chance to put the sixth banner up. That’s the thing, when I look back—boy, we were that close—but we were that close a few times that we didn’t get it.”
After announcing his plans to retire in June 2021 at the end of the 2021-22 season, Krzyzewski nearly had a storybook ending to his iconic career. The Blue Devils reached the Final Four in the NCAA tournament before an 81-77 loss to archrival North Carolina.
Coach K emphasized to Marks that he still loved the game at the end of his career, but “I just think I squeezed every bit of joy from that sponge, you know?”
Despite not being the figurehead for Duke basketball anymore, Krzyzewski told Marks he talks with current head coach Jon Scheyer about this year’s team.
“After a win or a loss, there is no way an assistant can feel what a head coach feels about certain things. No way,” Krzyzewski explained. “And the newness of some of those times, with him, it’s like, is this the way I’m supposed to feel? Yeah, and that’s the gig. The highs and the lows, and sometimes the uncertainties.”
Krzyzewski has at least some investment in Scheyer being successful. The 76-year-old pushed for Scheyer to be his successor, according to Ian O’Connor‘s book Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski.
O’Connor noted Duke president Vincent Price wanted to hire Tommy Amaker, but Krzyzewski called Amaker “to explain to Tommy why he couldn’t be the guy.”
Scheyer has had some bumps in the road thus far, but Monday’s 79-62 win over Louisville tied the school record for most victories by a head coach in his first season (20).
Krzyzewski began his head-coaching career at Army for five seasons from 1975 to ’80. He took over at Duke for the 1980-81 season and spent 42 years with the program. The Blue Devils won five national titles during his tenure.
Coach K was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. His 1,202 career wins are the most in Division I men’s basketball history.