Although he is not alone in his opinion — and he has definitely earned the credibility to make such a pronouncement by his 42 seasons as the most famed analyst on ESPN’s broadcasts of NCAA basketball — Dick Vitale feels compelled to qualify that he “feels very strongly” about his opinion of Mike Krzyzewski’s profession although others might not concur.
“I think he’s the greatest coach of all-time in college basketball,” Vitale instructed Sporting News. “Obviously I have tremendous respect for John Wooden . . . but it’s been a whole different era.”
Krzyzewski by no means will match the 10 NCAA championships Wooden received throughout his profession at UCLA. We can say that definitively now with reviews circulating that “Coach K” will serve as Duke’s coach only one more season earlier than coming into retirement. The finest he can do, at this level, is six — to go together with his all-time information of 1,170 victories, 97 NCAA Tournament wins, 35 NCAA appearances and record-tying 12 Final Fours.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: By the numbers
For Duke assistant coach Jon Scheyer, who has reportedly already been handed the reigns to succeed Krzyzewski, following this act is a bit like attempting to place the closing brush strokes on an unfinished Van Gogh. It’s simply paint, proper? Everything already seems to be in place.
So, what might go incorrect? Loads. In reality, loads might go proper however it all might go so incorrect too. Such is the peril of changing a legend in any sport.
At Duke specifically, although, the problem of how enduring the program is likely to be appears significantly acute as a result of Krzyzewski has been in place so lengthy and authored a lot of the program’s historic success. Which summons the query: Is Duke a blueblood or is Coach K?
“He is not a good coach. He’s not a good basketball coach. There are a lot of good basketball coaches out there. Mike Krzyzewski is a great coach. He is in that realm,” Frank Dascenzo, the retired sports activities columnist of the Durham Herald-Sun, instructed SN.
“It’s going to be damn near impossible to replace him. In all my years of covering the ACC, there has never been a better coach in any sport. He always said about his three daughters: ‘I don’t want what’s good for them; I want what’s best for them.’ And he carried that over to the program.”
When Krzyzewski was employed to change into Duke’s new head coach in 1980, the program had appeared in 4 Final Fours — three by Vic Bubas, one by Bill Foster — and eight NCAA Tournaments in its historical past. The Blue Devils had completed first in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s common season standings seven instances in 30 years and earned a .639 successful share in ACC video games.
Krzyzewski received the ACC common season 12 instances, the ACC Tournament 15 instances and attained a .704 successful share in convention video games. He might not have constructed Cameroon Indoor Stadium, however he reworked it right into a cathedral of the sport.
The astonishing Duke community of former gamers was branded “The Brotherhood” by the program, and it contains NBA All-Stars (Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson), an NBA head coach (Quin Snyder), NBA common managers (Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon), faculty head coaches (together with Bobby Hurley of Arizona State, Chris Collins of Northwestern, Jeff Capel of Pitt and Nate James of Austin Peay) and a military of broadcast analysts (Jay Bilas, Jay Williams and Grant Hill amongst them).
That alumni community will be one in every of the most necessary assets for Scheyer — who is additionally a member having been an All-American level guard on the program’s 2010 championship workforce — as he navigates the challenges of turning into Duke’s head coach in the spring of 2022.
“If The Brotherhood doesn’t survive from Coach K to someone who is in The Brotherhood, then it’s not really a brotherhood,” ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla instructed SN. “It’s up to the next coach to ensure that stays in place because it’s a reflection of what Coach K established over 40 years.
“You can count on all of the successful former student-athletes that Mike coached, and it’s incumbent upon them to be stronger than ever.”
WHO IS JON SCHEYER? What to know about Krzyzewski’s replacement at Duke
It is not straightforward even for packages with magnificent histories of success sustained by a number of teaching icons to take care of their standing. Indiana received two titles underneath Branch McCracken and three with Bob Knight as the helm, however now is on its fifth head coach in the 21 years since Knight’s dismissal.
Mick Cronin, who guided UCLA to the 2021 Final Four, is the tenth Bruins head coach since Wooden’s retirement in 1975. The majority of them had been fired regardless of NCAA Tournament Sweet 16s (Steve Alford), an Elite Eight (Steve Lavin), Final Fours (Ben Howland) and even an NCAA championship (Jim Harrick).
North Carolina went by this when Matt Doherty was named head coach in 2000, after two Final Fours in three seasons underneath Bill Guthridge, however meager recruiting hampered him. The Tar Heels compiled an 8-20 season in 2001-02, and Doherty by no means recovered. It took hiring a longtime legend, Roy Williams, to return Carolina basketball to the ranges the place Dean Smith had positioned it so often between 1961 and 1997.
Now Williams has retired, changed by first-time head coach Hubert Davis. This means, in the 2022-23 season, the Carolina and Duke head coaches will have a mixed one 12 months of head teaching expertise on their resumes.
“They have great passion for the schools, have the support of the guys stepping down, so those are positives,” Vitale instructed SN. “One factor they’ve going for them is the reality the colleges are North Carolina and Duke, and they’ll entice wonderful gamers.
“They’re going to have to be very thick-skinned because they’re going to be critiqued left and right. Replacing guys who were putting up 30-win seasons, who were national contenders every year, it’s going to be extremely difficult.
“But having an insider, having people on the sideline who are so well-liked and respected — these schools love these guys. They are loved players. I don’t remember hearing a bad word, ever, about these guys. Now they’re going to have to obviously produce. They know that.”
Which is not the similar as figuring out what this will be like. Only just a few have explored the frontier the place Scheyer is about to journey, and the tales instructed upon their return have been perilous.