Duke’s Legendary Coach K to Retire, Replaced by Israeli-American Assistant

Jon Scheyer played for Maccabi Tel Aviv after leading the Blue Devils to 2010 NCAA championship

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Jon Scheyer, left, during an NCAA college basketball game against Wofford in Durham, N.C., in 2019.
Jon Scheyer, left, during an NCAA college basketball game against Wofford in Durham, N.C., in 2019.Credit: Ben McKeown/AP

Mike Krzyzewski will make a final run at a national championship with Duke.

The Hall of Famer and winningest coach in the history of Division I men’s basketball announced Wednesday that next season will be his last with the Blue Devils program he has built into one of college basketball’s bluebloods. The school also named former Duke player and associate head coach Jon Scheyer as Krzyzewski’s successor for the 2022-23 season.

“My family and I view today as a celebration,” Krzyzewski said in a statement released Wednesday evening.

Scheyer, an American-Israeli citizen, immigrated to Israel to play with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2011. “Jon is a very talented and smart player. He is a true winner,” David Blatt, head coach of Maccabi at the time, said about Scheyer.

Stadium first reported news of the 74-year-old Krzyzewski’s final season with Duke, which he has led to five national championships, most recently in 2015. He has 1,170 career wins going back to his time at Army, with 1,097 wins coming during 41 years with the Blue Devils and their frantic fans who have made playing at famously hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium so difficult.

Now Krzyzewski will make a final lap – “The Last Ride,” as the program billed it in a social-media post – around the Atlantic Coast Conference and the sport where he has piled up an incredible run of success before handing off to Scheyer, currently 33.

“He is clearly ready for this opportunity and has shown it repeatedly throughout his playing career and as a coach on our staff the past eight seasons,” Krzyzewski said. “Jon is a rising star in our profession and Duke basketball could not be in better hands in the future.”

The school has scheduled a news conference for Krzyzewski on Thursday at Cameron, followed by one Friday for Scheyer.

Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to 12 Final Four appearances and a record 15 ACC Tournament championships, while his teams have spent a record 126 weeks ranked at No. 1 in the AP men’s college basketball poll.

Hired at Duke in March 1980, “Coach K” won national championships in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015. He broke Army mentor Bob Knight’s career victory record in November 2011.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Central Arkansas in Durham, N.C., in 2019.Credit: Gerry Broome/AP

Krzyzewski has tailored his approach to adapt with the times and his personnel. He won that 2010 title with a senior-laden roster, then claimed the 2015 one after pivoting to more “one-and-done” talent that headed to the NBA after a lone college season.

His image became synonymous both with the elite private university in Durham, North Carolina, and the sport as a whole. And along the way, he took over the U.S. men’s national team – with NBA All-Star rosters featuring names such as the late Kobe Bryant and LeBron James – and led it to Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, London in 2012 and Rio de Janiero in 2016.

Krzyzewski “will forever hold a very special place in Duke’s history and hearts,” said Duke’s incoming vice president and director of athletics Nina King.

Duke missed the NCAA Tournament this past season for the first time since 1995, but the Blue Devils welcome one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for the coming season.

Scheyer played for Krzyzewski from 2006-10, with his last season resulting in his mentor’s fourth NCAA title. Krzyzewski named Scheyer as a special assistant for the 2013-14 season. Scheyer rose to his current role following the 2017-18 season.

Coach K had encouraged Scheyer to go to Israel, telling him Maccabi would be a good career move.

“Israel is such a unique place to go, even if you aren’t Jewish,” Scheyer said a few months after arriving. “For me, being Jewish, it’s even more special.”

Scheyer served as interim coach last year for Duke when Krzyzewski was sidelined for a January win against Boston College due to COVID-19 protocols. Scheyer has never been a college head coach.

“Duke University has been a central part of my life for more than a decade, and I could not ask for a better place to continue my career,” Scheyer said in a statement. “This is absolutely humbling. ... (Krzyzewski) has set a standard that every coach at every level should strive to achieve.”

Maayan Efrat contributed to this report.

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