Duke’s Krzyzewski wants to coach at least ‘next five years’
Following one of the 2014 NCAA Tournament’s biggest upset — a 78-71 loss to 14-seed Mercer — these are not the best of times for the Duke basketball program. But the architect of one of the most successful programs of the past four decades has no plans to call it quits.
Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski met with reporters this week and said that he plans to be on the Cameron Indoor Stadium sidelines for the 2014-15 season, his 35th overall at the helm of the Duke program. But he did not stop there. Coach K, the all-time winningest head coach in Division I men’s basketball history, wants to be around for at least the next five years.
"I’m looking forward to the next five years," Krzyzewski said. "What do we do in the next five, not just what do we do next season. What are the decisions? The first thing is, I look at me. I’m going to be here. This past year I had a few setbacks, and I had an episode with health at the Wake game. I wanted to clear the air that I’m good. I’m going forward."
If he makes that five-year goal, he’d be 72 years old. And despite the recent early exits from the NCAA Tournament, Krzyzewski, 67, is still churning out excellent teams, so his continued enthusiasm for the program is understandable. The Blue Devils have claimed a top-three seed in the tourney for seven straight seasons, including four Sweet 16 appearances and the 2010 national title. Additionally, Coach K has yet to walk away from his duties as head coach of Team USA — a group he has led to two consecutive Olympic gold medals. He plans to coach in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
Riding the wave of his late-career successes at both the collegiate and international levels, Krzyzewski is still bringing top-end talent to Durham, such as 2012 No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving and projected top-five pick in the ’14 draft Jabari Parker. More elite prospects are on the way, too: the Blue Devils signed the No. 1 class in the nation this season, led by five-star center Jahlil Okafor (No. 1 overall), point guard Tyus Jones (No. 4) and forward Justise Winslow (No. 10).
As long as Krzyzewski is on the sidelines, the Duke program should remain among the nation’s elite for the foreseeable future.