Coach K says retirement was family decision years in the making

Rebutting suggestions that his retirement after next season is related to his health or the changing landscape of college sports, a reflective and occasionally emotional Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Thursday that his choice to step down came after "a couple of years" of contemplation, and that his comfort level with the program's succession plan simplified the decision to end a career highlighted by more than 1,000 victories and five national championships.

"Look, this is not about health. It’s not about COVID or saying why that year was so bad," said Krzyzewski, speaking from the basketball court inside Cameron Indoor Stadium that bears his name.

"It’s certainly not about what’s going (on) with college basketball. Boy, the game's changing. Alright. I’ve been in it for 46 years. Do you think the game has never changed? We’ve always had to adapt to the changes in culture, the changes in rules, the changes in the world. We’re going through one right now. Those aren’t the reasons. Those would be bad reasons, especially the health one."

This wasn't a "knee-jerk reaction," he said.

"We’ve been planning. We’re getting ready to go. Whatever happens, we’ll react to it. I’m not going to be anticipatory of any events. I want to coach my team. I want to give them 100%. I want this to be as good a basketball team as we’ve had in my 46 years. That’s the main thing I want to focus on. Anything else, let’s react to it."

Krzyzewski, 74, said previous discussions about retirement with his wife and family never reached "this level of seriousness," but that the opportunity to coach one last season and transfer leadership of the program to 33-year-old associate head coach John Scheyer led him to decide "the journey is going to be over in a year."

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