1979. That was the last year that Mike Krzyzewski was NOT the head coach for Duke University's men's basketball team. That will change in 2022, after today's news broke that the legend known as "Coach K" will be retiring after the upcoming college basketball season.
Whether you like Duke basketball or hate Duke basketball, there is no denying that Coach K is one of the true, main faces of college hoops. The majority of the public knows him by one letter... K. It's not a funky nickname by any means, but the amount of weight that one letter holds when someone says "Coach K" goes a long way. When folks make fun of bandwagon Duke fans because they didn't go there, those folks don the blue and white because of what Mike Krzyzewski built in Durham, North Carolina. For more than 40 years, the Army grad made the Blue Devils the face of the sport.
On top of the five National Championships and 12 Final Fours with Duke, you can't omit what Coach K accomplished on the global scale. As the Head Coach of the United States men's basketball team, he won three consecutive gold medals in 2008, 2012, and 2016. LeBron James played for him. Kobe Bryant played for him. Dwyane Wade played for him. And, of course, there are all the Duke players that chose to play for Coach K: Zion, Tatum, Ingram, Redick, Battier, Laettner, Hill, Hurley, etc. The best players in the WORLD had the privilege of playing for Mike Kryzyewski, which just goes to show the impact he's had on so many around the sport.
It is going to be extremely bizarre to live in a world without Coach K and Roy Williams roaming the sidelines of both Duke and North Carolina, respectively. And people will certainly call it a selfish act to announce the "farewell tour" one year ahead of stepping aside. But whether you're a fan or a hater of Coach K, this upcoming season will give all fans of the sport one last opportunity to see one of the greatest coaches in the history of college basketball do what he does best, one last time.