Is This The Reason Coach K Won’t Retire From Duke?

Is This The Reason Coach K Won’t Retire From Duke? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

If a 74-year-old head basketball coach was hovering around .500 in early March and likely to miss the tournament, there would be talk about making a change at most colleges. For Duke University, however, Mike Krzyzewski, doesn’t appear ready to leave anytime soon despite his struggles with students both on and off the basketball court. There may be different reasons why the program isn’t poised to make a change, with one having everything to do with Coach K’s exit plan, and the other dealing with how that change will take place.

As noted this week by Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports, for over twenty year, Mike Krzyzewski has only hired former Blue Devil players to be his assistant coaches, something he calls “The Brotherhood.” It has been the hope of Coach K that someone from “The Brotherhood” would take over for him as head coach when he retires, and now at 74, seems very close to taking place. Especially after dealing with Covid-19 and a bad 2020-21 season that saw the Hall of Fame coach behave unprofessionally towards a student reporter, and try to justify it in a unusual way.

As Eisenberg mentioned, there are ten Division I head coaches who once worked for Coach K, each of them having a sub .500 record so far this season, and like their mentor, are not expected to reach the tournament. In short, there isn’t anyone out there from “The Brotherhood” that Krzyzewski would trust to take over for him, leaving him to keep a job he probably should give up.

Another interesting twist to this story is that the Duke Blue Devils’ athletic director Kevin White announced that he will be retiring this summer, making it unknown who will be in charge of the basketball program next season, and making it almost impossible for a new person to ask Coach K to give up his whistle. In short, the head coach doesn’t want to leave because no one is around to replace him, and there’s probably no one strong enough at the school to ask him to step down, thus creating the problem that Duke faces: how to move on from the person who build their program?

While proving many times over he is a Hall of Fame coach, Mike Krzyzewski has often been a little too preachy for my taste, especially in recent years, going on many rants about how things should be done in college sports when it wasn’t the time or place for such thoughts to be shared.

Like his NBA soulmate Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, when Coach K has something to say, it doesn’t matter who’s microphone he says it into or when it does, because when he has an agenda, nothing will hold him back. Sadly, however, that has in the eyes of some tarnished his legacy since he, like other older head coaches (looking at you Jim Boeheim), the words spoken after the game take away from the people they should be more concerned about during the season, their players. Because with a limited practice schedule, college head coaches have plenty of time for interviews where they can and should express their opinions on the business of college athletics.

Not every great head coach gets to call their own shot when it comes to their departure. Even legends like Mike Krzyzewski may not be allowed to do what is best for their ego by walking away on their own terms, and may be asked to leave a year or two earlier than planned than staying around too long and becoming a villain at the end of their remarkable career.

Chances are that the first person hired at Duke University to replace Coach K won’t be very good and quickly drummed out of North Carolina … but this is the time when the university needs to tell their head coach that the time has come for them to make a change, and for the betterment of the program, Mike Krzyzewski should retire gracefully. There will likely be a former Blue Devil who reaches the point where they can become head coach; but until then, the school doesn’t need to keep Mike Krzyzewski around for the wrong reasons, and his pride is not a good enough reason. 

Do the right thing Duke University and ask your head men’s basketball coach to step down this summer, clean house in your athletic department and begin a new chapter at your school. It’s the best way to go. 

 


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Is This The Reason Coach K Won’t Retire From Duke? | TooAthletic.com

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