At his annual summer press conference Tuesday, Mike Krzyzewski said he would not appoint his own successor, because it wasn’t in his right as a men’s basketball coach–that decision belongs to Duke, and Duke only. Earlier in the day, Krzyzewski told The Chronicle in an exclusive interview, though, that he would use his input in deciding his successor to advocate for a replacement with a previous connection to Duke.
“Yeah, I would [want the job to stay in the Duke family],” Krzyzewski said. “I don’t think it should just be my decision. That’s not being a team player, although I would hope that I have some serious input. If we didn’t have anyone in our family who was worthy enough to do it, I’d say you go out of it. But we will have people, and we’ll have more than one.”
So who are those people? Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins, for one. Frenzy about Krzyzewski’s succession plan became relevant again when Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby introduced Dawkins as Krzyzewski’s likely successor. Associate head coaches Steve Wojciechowski and Chris Collins have an abundance of experience on the Duke sideline, but neither has been a head coach. Krzyzewski, however, said that not having a head coaching job on a resume shouldn’t hinder a potential successor.
“I don’t think [Dawkins] needed to [go to Stanford] to be considered. That doesn’t mean he was going to be the coach,” Krzyzewski, 61, told The Chronicle. “When [former athletic director Tom] Butters hired me 28 years ago, I had been a head coach at Army for five years. That helped me, but I had to learn how to coach on this level. There’s a learning curve. Say [Steve Wojciechowski] and Chris [Collins]… the knowledge of what it takes to do it here, is pretty important, especially if we can keep it going. If we don’t stay at a high level, then guys shouldn’t be considered. But if we’re able to stay at a very high level and compete…”
Other members of the Duke family–that is, former Blue Devils or parts of Krzyzewski’s coaching tree–include Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey and Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel. David Henderson is the head coach at Delaware, and Quin Snyder was a former head coach at Missouri. And don’t forget about players, either. After all, in 10 years, Greg Paulus will already be 30!
Check back with The Chronicle starting Monday for audio excerpts from our exclusive interview with Coach K. Before then, what do you think of Krzyzewski’s comments on succession? Offer your opinions below, in the comments section.