Mike Krzyzewski was in office at Duke University for over four decades, but now it’s finally over. The basketball coach’s long career comes to an end against, of all things, an arch-rival.
After 42 years at Duke University, the extraordinary career of “Coach K” is over: Mike Krzyzewski, coach with the most wins (1202) in US college basketball, failed with his Blue Devils in the semifinals of the Final Four, the former national coach thus goes into a well-deserved retirement.
The team from the University of Durham/North Carolina lost to big rival University of North Carolina 77-81 from a crowd of 70,602 at the Superdome in New Orleans, dashing hopes of a sixth title under Krzyzewski in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament after 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015.
North Carolina, once the college of basketball icon Michael Jordan, will face top-seeded University of Kansas in the final on Tuesday night (CEST).
Only one loss with Team USA
“This wasn’t about me,” Krzyzewski said, “I’ve always said throughout my career that I want my season to end with my players shedding tears of either joy or sadness. Because then you know they have given everything. I myself will eventually deal with all of this in my own way.”
Krzyzewski had taken up his post with the Blue Devils in 1980, more successful than the 75-year-old was only John Wooden (UCLA) with ten championships. Krzyzewski worked as national coach for eleven years (2005-2016), during which time Team USA won three Olympic gold medals and two World Cup gold medals. Only one game was lost under his direction – the 2006 World Cup semi-final.
The Hall-of-Famer, the son of Polish immigrants and educated at West Point Military Academy, will be replaced by his current assistant coach Jon Scheyer for the new season.