With the announcement that the upcoming season will be Coach K’s last in Durham at the helm of the Blue Devils – shockwaves reverberated all throughout college basketball and sports in general. It’s not as if none of us saw it coming but with most eventualities you can only prepare so much.
The writing has been on the wall for quite some time for Krzyzewski but like most things in life, timing is everything. You want to make sure you honor those you have recruited, those who work for you and with you as well. This not so tightly kept secret has been discussed for the past few weeks or so and with the announcing of Duke’s new athletic director the timing seemed to be ripe for change.
This man, Michael William Krzyzewski, has been the standard bearer for a sport where the only constant is change for the better part of 41 years. Amassing (to date) 5 NCAA Championships, 5 gold medals as a coach and an assistant, 15 ACC Tournament titles but moreover, as he’s alluded to many a time, he’s been a part of and made moments, something he tells his players consistently. Moments matter, moments are what you remember and he has given us too many to count.
While there is a measure of sadness to be felt with his absence, there is also a lot of opportunity for Duke to move into the future – to rip that bandaid off. Coach Krzyzewski will give it one last ride around the NCAA and leave the future of Duke up to, well the future and by all accounts that future will be one with Associate Head Coach Jon Scheyer as the next head coach. Scheyer has been an integral part of Duke’s recruiting prowess over the last few years and should be an excellent choice to usher the Blue Devils into the next phase.
Krzyzewski will retire as the winningest coach in men’s college basketball history and with a plethora of honors and achievements that make him arguably the greatest of all time but like most people of that ilk, people that are “build different”, people that can go by one initial and still be easily identifiable – he will say that his greatest achievements and accomplishments are the relationships he’s built, fostered and maintained over his career, the moments he’s shared with his players and staff and the players that he’s helped achieve their dreams. Seeing those successes, seeing the hard work paying off – those are the things that fill you up, not staring at an overflowing trophy cabinet. Thank you Coach K for making me love this sport and showing us all how to do it the right way.
And just like that everything changed and change is good, generally. This time it will be too, hopefully…eventually.