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'I've been a lucky guy': Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski to retire after this season

Coach K has been Duke's basketball coach since 1980, leading the Blue Devils to 5 national championships and 12 Final Four appearances.

DURHAM, N.C. — Mike Krzyzewski, the longtime Duke University men's basketball coach is retiring after the upcoming 2021-22 season, the school confirmed Wednesday. 

Krzyzewski, known by basketball fans worldwide as "Coach K," has been Duke's head coach since 1980. During his time on the Blue Devils bench, Krzyzewski has done it all. He's led the team to five NCAA Division I titles and taken them to the Final Four 12 times en route to becoming the winningest coach in college basketball history. 

“I’ve been a very lucky guy. I mean a really lucky guy," he said. "When I was 16, I was a junior in high school, and I had a coach and a teacher, and they had such an impact on me that I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to be a coach. I wanted to be a teacher."

This upcoming season will be Krzyzewski's 41st with Duke. 

During a press conference Thursday, Krzyzewski said he and his wife decided 2021 would be known as "The Last Ride." He said he was most proud of his family for supporting him during his career. 

“Mickie [my wife] and I have decided the journey’s going to be over in a year. And we’re going to go after it as hard as we can," Krzyzewski said.

"I think you take that into the program, a great picture for me would be to get all my guys, my former players, in one place," Krzyzewski said. "As a result, we don't live our lives through our grandkids or our daughters and their husbands, but we're part of their lives. How lucky am I? I'm able to do that with all my former players. What a life."

Krzyzewski was America's coach too, winning three gold medals with the U.S. men's national basketball team in 2008, 2012 and 2016. 

Duke Men's Basketball also confirmed on its Twitter account that Duke associate head coach Jon Scheyer will take over the head coach role starting April 2022. Scheyer has been with the coaching staff since 2013.

Duke Athletics confirmed Wednesday night a news conference with Krzyzewski is set for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. Coach Scheyer will also have a news conference at 11 a.m. on Friday.

"As silly as it might be we really are heartbroken to see him go," Hayley Sanon said.

Blue Devil fans said nothing can take away the memories. Alumna Ross Harris has pieces of the floor from when the team won the National Championship in 1991.

She remembers Duke basketball before Coach K.

"For the first three years I was at Duke as an undergrad we were in the last of the ACC," Harris said, "Then in our senior year, in 1978, we went to the Final Four and actually to the final so all of a sudden our basketball team was on fire."

For now, those who knew Coach K are grateful and ready for what his last season could bring.

"I’m excited, I’m going to be glued to the television for every game we’ve got left with him," Sanon said, "I'm excited to see what he’s able to accomplish in his last year. Maybe a Sixth banner I don’t know."

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