Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski, the all-time winning coach of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, is set to coach his final game at home in North Carolina on Saturday after Announcing his retirement last year.
The Duke Blue Devils are scheduled to play their rival, the North Carolina Tar Heels, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.
“Coach K”, as he is affectionately known, led the men’s program to five National Championships in 42 seasons — in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015, according to the NCAA.
If the Tar Heels win Saturday’s game against the Devils, it would almost guarantee the team a public display in the NCAA Championship after losing to the Pittsburgh Panthers last month, according to the CNN’s WTVD.
Krzyzewski held a press conference on Thursday, telling reporters he “tried not to think about it too much but I know it’s going to be emotional.”
“By being in one place and having a good level of success all the time, you can make a lot of friendships,” he said.
Krzyzewski said he “would have nothing to do with our basketball program” after his retirement, but that he and his wife would remain as ambassadors for the university.
“He’s been mine for 42 years, but he’s Duke forever. Whatever I can do to help Duke and Duke athletics, I’ll do it,” he said.
Krzyzewski has chosen Duke’s assistant coach and former Blue Devils player Jon Scheyer to become the school’s next head coach, according to Jeff Goodman of the field.
While at Duke, Krzyzewski developed some of the biggest stars in the NBA, including Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
Krzyzewski began training while in the army, beginning in 1969, According to Duke. He left the army with the rank of captain in 1974.
From there, he worked as a head coach at the US Military Academy Prep School in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, for two years before graduating as an assistant coach at Indiana University, the statement said. He did that for another year before returning to his alma mater, West Point, in 1975 as head coach.
Krzyzewski took over as Duke’s coach in 1980, according to the university.
Announcing his retirement last year, Krzyzewski said in a statement that he and his family view the decision as a celebration. He is also “grateful and honored” for having led two college programs — West Point and Duke — along with the United States national team as head coach of basketball, he said.
Krzyzewski was appointed head coach for Team USA in 2005. Under his rule, the team won gold medals at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
“Student. Incurable problem solver. Amateur baconaholic. Introvert. Infuriatingly humble music fanatic.”