Jun 3, 2021
Duke Basketball Coach K Retirement Press Conference Transcript
Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski held a press conference on June 3, 2021 to address his retirement announcement. Read the transcript of his speech remarks here.
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Speaker 1: (02:54)
Good morning. Welcome to Cameron Indoor Stadium. It’s great to have everybody here in person and we look forward to a great day today and then again, tomorrow as well. A couple reminders before we get started, please silence your cell phones and any mobile devices. And we ask that you please adhere to our social distancing guidelines to keep your mask on when you are inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Speaker 1: (03:18)
Our format for this morning will be remarks from Duke president, Vincent Price, vice president director of athletics, Kevin White, incoming vice president director of athletics, Nina King, followed by remarks from head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. So it’s now my pleasure to introduce President Price.
Vincent Price: (03:44)
Good morning. On days like today, it can be difficult to come up with the right words to express what Mike Krzyzewski has meant to Duke University, to college basketball, to our community and to our country. So we let the numbers do the talking for us.
Vincent Price: (04:09)
1,170 career wins, 5 National Championships, 12 Final Fours, 15 ACC Tournament and 12 ACC regular season titles, six gold medals for the US National Team, 37 All Americans, the list goes on and on; many of them never to be matched now or in the future, except actually by Mike, who will give us one more season of Blue Devil basketball.
Mike Krzyzewski: (04:46)
Vincent Price: (04:55)
But perhaps the most important number is 15, 054. That’s the number of days since Mike Krzyzewski was introduced as Duke’s head basketball coach on March 16th of 1980. And for everyone of those 15,054 days, and for the next 310 or so until the end of next season, Mike has been resolutely and zealously committed to Duke University, to our students and his players, to the principles of integrity, fairness, and inclusion, and above all, to excellence.
Vincent Price: (05:39)
And for that reason, I’m particularly pleased to announce today that while Mike may turn over the whistle and the clipboard to John Shier next year, I’m thrilled that he will continue to serve Duke for many years to come as an ambassador for our university and an advisor and a counselor to me and to my colleagues across campus and beyond. There will always be a place for Coach K at Duke.
Mike Krzyzewski: (06:08)
Vincent Price: (06:08)
There will be many opportunities over the next year for the Duke community and indeed the whole basketball world to show our appreciation and gratitude to Mike and to Mickie for their devotion to Duke, to family, and to the highest ideals of service, generosity, and compassion that they’ve shown us for the past 15,054 days.
Vincent Price: (06:42)
Now I will turn the podium over to our vice president and director of athletics, Kevin White.
Mike Krzyzewski: (06:49)
Kevin White: (06:58)
Good morning, everybody. I will be intentionally brief. Coach K’s legacy, I’ve said it often and I mean it in the bottom of my heart, is the best word I’ve come up with is mind boggling. It’s absolutely mind boggling. A comparable run will never reoccur. We throw around this GOAT, greatest of all time. For me, it seems a little thin today, actually seems inadequate in this particular instance, but Mike, you are the GOAT. You are absolutely the GOAT.
Kevin White: (07:40)
Beyond the banners, hardware, titles, awards, honors, both domestically and globally, Mike’s greatest gift in my opinion, has been as unabashed love and utter commitment to his players. Mike has been an esteemed professor, major professor, let me say, at Duke for some 41 years. Wherein his curriculum has been constructed around endless life lessons and service, to be sure amazing, amazing life lessons and service.
Kevin White: (08:20)
There are no words to account for what will be 42 magical years. It’s well beyond anyone’s imagination to come up with the appropriate words as President Price had already indicated, but Mike’s tenure can only be described as the best ever in the history of sport by any measure.
Kevin White: (08:44)
Given that, heartfelt congratulations to Coach K, Mickie, your beautiful family. And perhaps I might now refer to this group here, which is they’re all here as team Krzyzewski it’s so, so great to have you all back in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Kevin White: (09:02)
Let me pivot to the 2021-2022 season for just a second. Mike will have an amazing team with which, our iconic coach, in my view, will make his final, very deep run. That’s my prediction. We’ve got a great year ahead of us. I’m going to hold my comments regarding John until tomorrow. However, I’m extremely excited, if not absolutely euphoric about future prospects.
Kevin White: (09:35)
Finally, you heard from President Price, he is indeed a spectacular leader of all things Duke and the Duke community already knows Nina King, incoming VPAD. It has been an honor for me to be part of this transition with a brilliant leader and my successor, who never, ever flinches, and that would be Nina. More tomorrow relative to John. Again, huge congratulations Coach on all fronts. An amazing tenure, just amazing.
Nina King: (10:19)
Great. Good morning. Little did I know a couple of weeks ago, that we’d be gathered again here today, although this time to express our deepest gratitude and immense appreciation for Duke’s iconic coach, Mike Krzyzewski. President Price and Kevin White said it well, so I’ll be brief.
Nina King: (10:41)
What Coach Krzyzewski has done for Duke in 41 years and throughout his coaching tenure, is absolutely unparalleled. He’s a legend and an icon, a man of integrity who has always done it the right way, teaching and mentoring so many over the course of his brilliant career.
Nina King: (11:03)
As I think about all of the incredibly impressive numbers that have been talked about, in terms of wins, championships, et cetera, there’s another important number as well; the thousands of people that coach has corresponded with over the years, people in moments of need, fans celebrating a wedding, children battling heartbreaking disease and so many others. Never once did he seek attention or thanks for participating in any of these moments. Coach Krzyzewski’s generosity has impacted literally thousands of individuals on a deeply personal level. So impressive. His impact along with the countless contributions of his amazing wife Mickie and the entire Krzyzewski family is felt far and wide, not only through the Duke community, but around the world.
Nina King: (11:53)
Mike Krzyzewski has created an inspirational legacy and it’s not over yet. While we look forward to introducing our next head coach, John Shier tomorrow, we are thrilled to be able to celebrate Coach Krzyzewski, Mickie, Debbie, Lindy, Jamie, and their family today, and this entire coming year. Year 42 will no doubt be incredible. And I couldn’t be more excited to watch coach lead our iconic Duke men’s basketball program for one more season. And I look forward to growing our personal relationship over this coming year.
Nina King: (12:24)
Coach, thank you for everything you’ve done for this great university. You’ve done it with class and grace and we could not be more proud.
Mike Krzyzewski: (12:34)
Nina King: (12:38)
Mike Krzyzewski: (12:39)
Speaker 1: (12:44)
Nina, Kevin, President Price, thank you very much. Before we get into Coach K’s remarks, the reminder for the gathered media here, we will take questions after Coach K’s remarks. And I know a number of you already have a question in queue, so we’ll get to as many as we can in the time that we have. So, Coach Krzyzewski. Thank you.
Mike Krzyzewski: (13:01)
Yeah. Well thank you. Thanks. Listening to you guys and hearing the music, wow. I miss that music. I miss people on the court, I miss Cameron and I’m so excited about this upcoming year. A couple of our guys are in the audience. We had a Zoom yesterday, you know I’m excited to coach you guys. And I’m so proud of have been the coach at Duke University. It is a little bit tough though. My AD, my friend, Kevin White, comes up there and he calls me a GOAT. I was glad he didn’t call me a donkey. And then it’s not about having a run next year, it’s about having a finish; just so we’re on the same on the same wavelength.
Mike Krzyzewski: (14:03)
Thank you all for being here. It’s so many important people in the audience. I will tell you the most important people are right here in front of me; my family, my daughters, their husbands, and my 10 amazing grandchildren. And how lucky are we that we’ve had this for most of the time that whenever they were born, we’ve had them here, right with us, and that’s helped immensely. And really what’s happened, we’ve been a family. We’ve been a family. And then with all my guys, the guys who are on my staff with John taking over after this year, he’ll be incredible. Chris Nolan, all my former players who’ve come to help coach and it’s been a family atmosphere.
Mike Krzyzewski: (14:56)
I just want to tell you, I’ve been a very lucky guy, I mean a really lucky guy. When I was 16, I was a junior in high school, at Weber High School in Chicago. And I had a coach and then I had a teacher, Coach Ostrowsky and Father [inaudible 00:15:20]. 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, and that’s what I’ve been.
Mike Krzyzewski: (15:38)
But I’ve been that and I’ve gotten some amazing opportunities. Yeah. The very first opportunity, God was good. God was really good. He gave me my mom and dad. They were really good. What an opportunity. And I’ve had so many opportunities, more than almost anybody, I think. But that was some great opportunity, to grow up in the Krzyzewski family.
Mike Krzyzewski: (16:15)
And even though a mother with eight grade education, a father with two years of high school, they had a belief in education and they had a belief in me. I didn’t know that at that time. I felt it probably every day of my life. And so what presented the first opportunity to go to West Point, I’ve wouldn’t have taken it without their belief. I was afraid and I was afraid when I was there, but their belief was always behind me.
Mike Krzyzewski: (16:58)
Most of us get a certain number of opportunities, some of us get more than others.
Mike Krzyzewski: (17:02)
… a certain number of opportunities, some of us get more than others. The best opportunities are the opportunities that are backed up with belief.
Mike Krzyzewski: (17:12)
My mom told me when I was in high school at Weber, she said, “Michael,” whenever she had something important, it was Michael. “Michael always be with good people;” and I followed her advice my whole life.
Mike Krzyzewski: (17:28)
When I was at West Point, how lucky can you get. I’m at the greatest leadership school in the world, the greatest character-building school in the world, and I’m playing for one of the greatest coaches of all-time in Bob Knight. Boom. Boom. Boom. Those aren’t punches that knock you out. Those are punches that give you that leadership character, the knowledge of playing for a brilliant, brilliant coach. How lucky can you get?
Mike Krzyzewski: (18:05)
I can’t get a lot more lucky. I get to serve in the Army and after I do my service, Coach Knight gives me an opportunity to go to Indiana and go to graduate school. I’m there for one year. They have one of the greatest teams of all-time. I learned there.
Mike Krzyzewski: (18:26)
Then at 28, you think Scheyer’s young, he’s 33. I was 28, although, more handsome. Yeah, at that time in my life. In my opinion, Marcelle, not in your opinion. Right? The people at West Point believed in me. I got that opportunity, and as a result, we turned around a 7-44 program into a 73-59 program. Then you get lucky again. Yeah. Interview for the Duke job.
Mike Krzyzewski: (19:16)
The guy who had the most belief in me was Tom Parks. He really believed in me. He believed in me multiple times. He gave me this opportunity. After three years, most people wanted that opportunity to go to someone else. I guess that’s a nice way of saying that they wanted to get rid of me. But not the guy who believed in me. Not the guy who believed in me. My opportunities were followed with belief. The best. The very best. We started all of this. All of this. Then in the mid ’90s, I got extremely sick physically, emotionally, mentally, and was going to get out of coaching. He believed in me again.
Mike Krzyzewski: (20:21)
But there was another guy who believed in me, his name was Keith Brody. He was my second president and I’ve had great presidents. Keith Brody was, in my 41 years here, was the best person I’ve ever known. During that time of presidency, he believed in me. He should. We won a couple championships and all that. But he believed in me in one of my darkest hours. For those months of rehabbing and getting better, he believed in me every day. Another opportunity. Wouldn’t have taken advantage of it without belief. Strong belief.
Mike Krzyzewski: (21:15)
Throughout the years, it was a little bit easier to believe in me. Championships. And I’m glad a lot of recruits believed in me because they’ve made me a heck of a lot better coach. Some of the great players in the history of college basketball played right here. Played right here. Every day I had an opportunity to be with the best. I found that relationship I had was the reverse of the relationship I had with Coach Ostrowski and Father Rogue. Now they believed in me. Wow. What a life?
Mike Krzyzewski: (22:06)
I then get an opportunity to coach the United States team. 11 years. Jerry Colangelo, yeah, he said, “I want you. You’re a college coach, and I want you to coach the National Team.” Yeah. I jumped at it. In our first competition, we lost. We didn’t know what we were doing yet and Greece beat us in the world championships in Tokyo in 2006. The worst day of my life in coaching. The worst day. I wanted to end it. That’s it. I went up to Jerry and I said, “I’m sorry.” He said, “We’ll get this done. I believe in you.” In your darkest hours and that, it’s not just about opportunity. It’s about someone believing in you. 77 games later: Three Olympic gold medals, two world championship. That belief turned into this. For me, the opportunity to coach here at one of the great institutions in the world and be around not good people but great people, has made me, Mickie, my family so much better.
Mike Krzyzewski: (23:49)
You might ask, “Why are you doing this right now?” Look, this is not about health. Mickie and I, whether we look it, she does, whether I look healthy, I am. It’s not about COVID or saying, “Boy, that year was so bad. I don’t want …” It’s not about that. It’s certainly not about what’s going on with college basketball, where, boy, the games changing. All right. I’ve been in it for 46 years. You mean the games never changed? In the progression of the game, we’ve always had to adapt to the changes in culture, to changes in rules, to changes in the world. We’re going through one right now. That’s not the reason. Those aren’t the reasons. Those would be bad reasons, especially the health one. The reason we’re doing this is because Mickie 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 possibly can. Then we’ll be a part of Duke’s continuing journey, like President Price said, for as long as we’re around. For as long as we’re around.
Mike Krzyzewski: (25:28)
The last thing I will say before answering any questions, if you have any, yeah, is the biggest opportunity I’ve had in my life and the people who have believed in me the most are my ladies. My wife and my three daughters have made me so much better. They’ve been there in those dark days, those dark nights, those celebratory times too. They have always believed in me. Thank you. Thank you. This is not a day for thanking everybody, because it’s not over. But today, it’s a day to thank you all. Yeah.
Mike Krzyzewski: (26:32)
I’m a lucky guy and we’re going to go for it as much as possible, as much as we can this year. We’re going to try to return this place into being what it’s supposed to be, and then we’ll be able to walk away to another part of what we’re doing.
Mike Krzyzewski: (26:56)
Anyway, thank you all for being here. If you have any questions, please, I’m available right now. All right.
Speaker 2: (27:09)
Thank you, Coach. We have questions in a queue. It’s like I said, what we’ll do is I’ll call on two people each time. If you would, use the microphones that are closest to you at the front of the room. When you come up to the mic, you may take your mask off to ask Coach a question. When you ask your question, please identify yourself with name and affiliation.
Speaker 2: (27:34)
We’ll start first at this front mic here. C.L. Brown, and then followed by Aaron Beard.
C.L. Brown: (27:48)
C.L. Brown, Raleigh News and Observer.
C.L. Brown: (27:51)
First, congratulations, Coach. I was wondering kind of what this is going to look like post-retirement, in terms of your role here at the university? Coach Bray, I talked to him yesterday and he talked about needing a czar in college basketball, and that’s something that you’ve kind of talked about before, not necessarily you filling that role, but could you see yourself post-retirement in a role still staying connected with college basketball and trying to help guide, navigate through these waters?
Mike Krzyzewski: (28:22)
Yeah, no czar stuff. I’m going to run motion offense. Motion offense for me is making reads, being adaptable. What do you need to do? To me, one of the first things is going to be, what does Duke need from me in that new role?
Mike Krzyzewski: (28:48)
I will always be connected with the game. Actually, I’m supposed to be on an ad hoc committee conference call today, right now. Don’t worry. We’re okay. I told them I wasn’t going to be there. That we’ve met for the last seven months, every week with some of the top coaches, Craig Robinson, executive director of NABC, Dan Gavitt, a lot of NCAA people, and trying to figure out the game. There’s a lot that needs to be figured out.
Mike Krzyzewski: (29:27)
I’ll give you one quick example. Just before coming on, we’ve worked for a long time, a few months trying to get, in the summer, you can work with Joey and Lindell, Keenan, Michael, you can work with them eight hours a week for strength training and agility and four on the court. We tried to get something, the ACC has sponsored it, to get four more hours. A number of the coaches have never even met most of their team. I think you guys, would you guys like if we could work with you a little bit longer? Yeah. We got a unanimous vote from all the kids who played in the ACC to add four more. It went to another committee, they knocked it to two. I just found out before this that they didn’t approve it. Somebody needs help. Hopefully. They didn’t see it as an opportunity to improve. They didn’t hear from people who believed in the kids playing the game that this would be good for their improvement. If I could help in that change, I would love to help. But anyway, it just happened.
Mike Krzyzewski: (31:03)
I still get very upset about those things, even though I’m not going to … I care about the game. We’ve lived the game, and we need to take care of the game. Enough pontificating about that. Thank you.
Mike Krzyzewski: (31:22)
Aaron Beard: (31:27)
Hey, Aaron Beard with the AP.
Mike Krzyzewski: (31:29)
Aaron Beard: (31:31)
You’re very much a “live in the moment, worry about the challenge in front of you” type of person. I’m curious, have you even contemplated what the next year is going to be like coaching in this? The emotions for you while still staying focused on the task at hand?
Mike Krzyzewski: (31:45)
No, I’m really focused, actually. Totally. Right guys? We’ve been planning. We’re getting ready to go. Our freshmen come in Saturday and Sunday. They get going in summer school. I’m in a deep dive with them. Whatever happens, we’ll react to it, to the things. I’m not going to be anticipatory about any events or anything like that. I want to coach my team. I want to give them 100%. Because of this, I won’t be on the road recruiting like I would norm-, so I can spend even more time with them. I want this to be as good basketball team as we’ve had in my 46 years. That’s the main thing I’m going to focus on. Anything else, let’s react to it.
Mike Krzyzewski: (32:43)
Will you guys react to it? Yeah. All right.
Speaker 2: (32:48)
Next two questions, Brendan Marks and Shane Smith.
Brendan Marks: (32:57)
Hey, Coach. Brendan Marks at The Athletic. Congratulations on your decision.
Mike Krzyzewski: (32:59)
Brendan Marks: (33:00)
I’m just sort of wondering, as much as you are willing to express, what was the timeline like for you and for Mickie and the rest of your family in arriving at this point? What were those conversations like? What were the emotions in trying to arrive at this decision?
Mike Krzyzewski: (33:13)
Well, Mickie and I are in our 70s, so it’s not like it’s the first time we talked about it. That doesn’t mean what level of seriousness, but we talked about this for a few years. We always talk to our daughters about it. We have a family meeting. Where’s it at? You address it. We’ve looked at this for a couple of years, but not like to make that decision.
Mike Krzyzewski: (33:45)
After COVID, after this season, this was the hardest season, the hardest year for a lot of people. You didn’t want to make a knee-jerk reaction for that, and we didn’t. We met, gees, six, eight weeks ago-
Mike Krzyzewski: (34:03)
So, we met, geez, six, eight weeks ago. Well, first of all, Mickie and I got away, and we talked about it. And we came to the agreement that we really wanted to coach this year, but that this would be the last year. And then we met with our family, with our daughters. I met with my guys, John, [Nolan 00:34:30], and Chris, and talked to a couple people about that.
Mike Krzyzewski: (34:37)
And, Brendan, when you make a decision, there’s an implementation. How do you implement it? And the decision then was made, and I talked to President Price and Kevin, and now how do you do this? And I really believe the way we’re doing it is terrific. I’m 100% happy, sure, and whatever that what we’re doing is by far… Is the only thing, really, you could do. And I appreciate everyone’s cooperation and the university making the decision of how we should go forward. And we’ve worked as a team the entire time I’ve been here. And working as a team and developing this plan, it makes us a better team. It makes us an even better team than that.
Speaker 3: (35:43)
Shane Smith: (35:51)
Coach, Shane Smith, Duke Chronicle. First of all, congratulations. I’m just curious, as you start the process over the next year of handing it over to Coach Scheyer, what aspects of the program here that you’ve built, do you really want to emphasize that can carry over to the next era of Duke basketball?
Mike Krzyzewski: (36:11)
I’m not going to change what I do this year, and neither are those guys, my staff. We’re going to go after it like we normally go after it. That will be the ninth year that John’s here. So yeah, Nolan, Chris, they’ve played, they’ve been here. They understand the core values and everything that we do. And then, John will be able to put his own personal stuff on it. He’s not going to, “What did Coach K do?” Or whatever. They don’t do that now. I don’t have complete control over my practices now. “I thought we were supposed to do this.” “Well, we think, coach, this would be better.”
Mike Krzyzewski: (36:59)
I’m kidding a little bit about that, but not completely. I’ve listened to them all the time. So we’re just going to keep doing that, and then try to maintain the level of excellence and the pursuit of excellence that our program has done over the, not just the four decades I’ve been here, but we’ve had a great tradition here that started, especially with Coach [Bubess 00:37:25]. Okay.
Speaker 4: (37:27)
The next few questions, Jake [Piazza 00:37:29], and then Bridget [Condon 00:37:29].
Mike Krzyzewski: (37:35)
I’m glad this is not a political statement because only the right for me is speaking right now and not the left.
Jake Piazza: (37:45)
Hi, coach. Jake Piazza with the Chronicle. It’s obviously hard to do anything for 40 years, let alone do it successful. And I wanted to ask you what you think it is about your coaching that’s allowed you to be successful for such a long time.
Mike Krzyzewski: (38:00)
I’ve loved what I do. I think if you work at what you love, it’s not work. I’ve never looked at it like, “Man, I’ve got a bad job.” I’ve got a great job. And I think about it every day, all the time. But I haven’t tried to… For me, it’s fresh every year because I try to adapt what we do to the people that we have, the level of improvement of the players coming back and the level of talent of the people that are coming in, take a look at them during the summer and say, “Okay, I think this is the best thing, based on what we would do as a staff.”
Mike Krzyzewski: (38:52)
It keeps it incredibly interesting. And so, we’ve played a number of different styles. Most of the time, that’s worked pretty well. Sometimes it doesn’t, and then you adapt during the season to try to change it. So you’re not doing the same… It’s not an assembly line. And we’ve done it even more in the last decade, what’s happened in college basketball with early entries and people leaving, the amount of mobility that is there for a player right now in the last decade. And it’s increased even more, which lends itself even, I think, more to do it this way, but that’s what I’ve enjoyed. I did that with the US team too, and it’s done okay. It’s done okay. All right.
Bridget Condon: (39:54)
Hello. Bridget Condon from ABC 11. Congratulations and thank you. 41 years, you have a long list of accolades, banners up here, so many awards. You’ve talked about the people who have helped you get there, but for you, what are you most proud of, of what you’ve been able to accomplish here?
Mike Krzyzewski: (40:10)
Well, the thing I’m most proud of, it’s right there. What a family. And 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, where I could just, “Okay, that’s good.” And as a result, we’ve been able to… We don’t live our wives through our grandkids or our daughters and their husbands, but we’re part of their lives. How lucky are we that we’re also able to do that with John and Chris and Nolan and Nate and [Rojo 00:41:03] and Shane and Grant and Jason and all? What a life.
Mike Krzyzewski: (41:10)
So you have this going all the time. And that’s where our guys, these guys have come up with the brotherhood. And that’s an extension of really what we’ve done as a family. So that’s what I’m most proud of, is that. And that will last well beyond next season. That’ll last forever, for me and for Mickie. So that’s the coolest thing. All right.
Speaker 4: (41:40)
Next few questions, we’ll go Barry Jacobs and David Thompson.
Mike Krzyzewski: (41:45)
Is that indicative of political preference? All right, I just…
Barry Jacobs: (41:50)
Yes, I get the left.
Mike Krzyzewski: (41:52)
All right. I figured it appropriately.
Barry Jacobs: (41:54)
I knew you would.
Mike Krzyzewski: (41:55)
Barry Jacobs: (41:56)
Well, congratulations on your decision. I hope that the other teams in the League don’t give you too many rocking chairs.
Mike Krzyzewski: (42:04)
I doubt that they will do that.
Barry Jacobs: (42:08)
Looking at the whole arc of your career, what do you think has changed the most about your coaching over those years?
Mike Krzyzewski: (42:19)
By far, more flexibility. And not micro-managing. That changed in mid-’90s. And listening more. And to be quite frank with you, I learned that from my wife and my daughters. The wisdom of listening, of showing emotion. And getting different perspectives, not just the perspective of a player or a coach, but sometimes another person’s perspective. And I’ve relied a lot on them. Yeah. They’ve made me, even when I didn’t want to hear it, they’ve made me want to hear it.
Mike Krzyzewski: (43:03)
And they’ve hammered in humility too. I can remember as they were growing up, there used to be a time where you sat and had a family dinner. And at times, we’d won a national championship or we’re playing a big… And I’ve come home, and you should have seen… We got a dance recital, we got this, what Jane said about me, can you believe that? Anyway, and they’re, “What about me?” Yeah, just… So the word I want to say then, is [inaudible 00:43:49] more balance. In this profession… Whatever you do, when you love it a lot, you can go off the deep end and only love that and forget about what else you love. And I’ve learned balance. And I didn’t have it all the time, to be quite frank with you.
Barry Jacobs: (44:14)
David Thompson: (44:25)
Hey coach. Sorry. David Thompson from the USA Today network. Nice to finally meet you in person.
Mike Krzyzewski: (44:30)
David Thompson: (44:31)
You talked so much today about the people who believed in you and how much that meant to you. So I am curious why you believe in John and why you feel like he’s the right guy to-
Mike Krzyzewski: (44:41)
Well, you can look at the 2010 national championship. I believed in he and Nolan running our team. And with John and… Any of the guys who work for me, they were my former captains, and they all had great resumes. And I tell all of them, “When you come on, I only want you here if you want to be a head coach.” And then what I’ve learned is to give them all these responsibilities where they don’t have different things, they do everything. John’s done everything.
Mike Krzyzewski: (45:29)
And in the last few years, we’ve taken it up to another level. He’s one of the smartest coaches in the country, to be quite Frank with you. Nobody knows that as well as I know it. And Chris and Nolan know it. The players know it. And so it’s ironic. He’s 33. I was 33 when I was here. My main wish for him is not to replicate my first three years. That wouldn’t be good. Although Nina, maybe it would be a time for great belief, at that time. Yeah, so all right.
Speaker 4: (46:22)
Sarah Krueger and Jim Sumner.
Sarah Krueger: (46:30)
Hi, coach. Sarah Krueger with WRAL. When you’re good at something, when you’re great at something, I can imagine, regardless of the field, it would be difficult to know when it’s time to step away and how to do that with satisfaction and contentment. How did you know that it’s your time?
Mike Krzyzewski: (46:48)
Yeah. Obviously, all the questions have been good. That’s another really good one. And that’s how I’ve changed too, Barry, is acknowledging good questions. I’ve done that a lot better than in my younger days. It’s really… I always felt that you would know when to stop if you weren’t ready to do all the things necessary to do what you do. You have to do a lot of things before you do what you do. Never been a question.
Mike Krzyzewski: (47:36)
I’m older and… We’ve both felt that with… I’m not sure I’m ready to… I’m ready to prepare. She will tell you how much I watch tape, and all that. I’m still watching tape. I’m watching tape of some pro teams now, to figure out, but I want to use some of the things that I have to prepare for that time with them. I want to see Quinn’s games. I want to see John David, win a ninja, I want to see [Rem 00:48:25] hit a last second shot to win. I want to… Yeah. I want to be able to do that and live a little bit through them. And that’s how I want to spend the rest of my time, doing whatever else I have to do.
Mike Krzyzewski: (48:46)
And so, it’s time. I’m not ready to do all that. For you guys, I’m going to do everything. It’s like in recruiting. Be tough to recruit for next year if I’m not coaching the kids. And it’s not fair to a kid that you would be recruiting. “Yeah, I think I’m going to coach.” And then at the end of the year, say you’re not coaching. That’s not… So that’s part of it.
Mike Krzyzewski: (49:16)
That doesn’t mean I hate recruiting or… I just want to use that time better. I want to allocate that time better in my life.
Jim Sumner: (49:32)
Hi, Mike. Jim Sumner, [inaudible 00:49:34] Magazine. I think we know that the national, the best college basketball universal team, the media will frame next season as the Mike Kryzyzewski farewell tour. How do you want your players to respond to that? Do you want them to embrace it or try to ignore it? How do you see this playing out?
Mike Krzyzewski: (49:54)
Don’t let it kid you. If anyone says thank you and whatever, once they throw the ball up, they want to beat us even more because it’s the last time. Come on. As a competitor. I know that. It’s my last time to beat your butt. So yeah, all that. And then once we start the game, boom, let’s go. So just don’t let it distract you.
Mike Krzyzewski: (50:26)
Now here at Duke, let’s make it so loud in here and so crazy and whatever, let’s enjoy. Let’s enjoy. And there’s nothing sad about this. This is not sad. I’m happy. I’m excited. I’m whatever. And then whenever we do this in the spring, I’m sure there’ll be some sadness. And that ending, that it’s not just the preparation now, it’s actually the doing that I’m giving up. And-
Mike Krzyzewski: (51:03)
… ways of doing that I’m giving up. But I’ll be ready for that. And I’ll be ready to see how these guys continue, and be there to help them in whatever way I can, so …
Speaker 5: (51:14)
Mike Krzyzewski: (51:14)
Speaker 6: (51:16)
Jonas Pope and Mike Toper. You’re good, Jonas. Mike?
Mike Toper: (51:33)
Mike Krzyzewski: (51:34)
Mike Toper: (51:34)
Wanted to know, or wanted to ask you, with timing of your announcement, how important was it for you to already have Jon in place? And for that to be out there as him to be your successor?
Mike Krzyzewski: (51:46)
No, I think it’s incredibly important, especially with the start of recruiting. Recruiting’s going on, starting now. And where there’s complete transparency and clarity into the future for this year and after. And I was fortunate to go to West Point and be an army officer, and in the service, you are constantly looking at succession. It’s not … One, whenever you go to a unit, you’re taking over for somebody in command, and that person helps you in continuity, is what it’s called. Continuity of excellence. And continuity of excellence has a lot to do with succession, and how you handle succession. And so, looking at this, really, the implementation of the decision has a lot to do with succession, and a greater chance for continuity. And if you do not have anybody that can take command, you’re in trouble. We do. We do.
Mike Krzyzewski: (53:09)
And so, that was one of the things I was concerned about. I don’t want everything to end when I stop coaching, I want it to continue. And so, the key word there is, “Succession.” And it’s not done a lot. In the military, it’s done all the time. Even with the US team. When I stopped in 2016, Jerry Colangelo and I met and he said, “We’re going to have to get another coach.” And I said, “Well, do it sooner than later.” And so in the Fall before that Summer, Pop was named. And then he and I met, and he spent time with me and getting ready for real. I’ve spent time with him afterwards. And he’s an Air Force guy, I’m an Army guy. We understood that. That that’s the way you do it.
Mike Krzyzewski: (54:03)
So to me, it was plain as day that this is what we should … It is plain as day, that’s what you do. I speak on leadership and all this stuff. Succession is a key thing.
Mike Toper: (54:18)
Mike Krzyzewski: (54:18)
Speaker 6: (54:19)
Chris Lea, and then Vashti Hurt.
Chris Lea: (54:28)
Hi, coach. Congratulations.
Mike Krzyzewski: (54:29)
Chris Lea: (54:29)
Chris Lea from WRAL. I wanted to ask you, I know that your age difference between you and Bobby Knight, a little bit closer. But what about your relationship with Bobby Knight reminds you of your relationship with Jon Scheyer? And how did you want to improve upon that mentorship that you got from Bobby Knight, to make sure that Jon is ready for what he’s about to take on?
Mike Krzyzewski: (54:49)
Well, Coach Knight, I learned a lot from Coach Knight. And he gave me a couple big time opportunities. But I was never his full-time assistance. I was never as his associate head coach. I was his point guard. Jon was my point guard. I didn’t win a national championship, he did. Although, Nolan, you were point guard at times, too. Don’t …
Mike Krzyzewski: (55:18)
And then I was just a graduate assistant for him for one year. With Jon, there was a great continuity. Even after he graduated, it wasn’t too long before he was back here. So the relationship didn’t even have that much of a separation. So it was just a longer period of time, much more responsibility. And for me and Jon, and these guys, Chris and Nolan, it’s not mentorship, it’s partnership. We’re on the same team. I don’t want you guys to call me your mentor. I want you to call me your coach, and your friend. And that’s what we’ve developed.
Mike Krzyzewski: (56:06)
Look, I’ll go to war with those three guys. And I’d follow Jon. I’d follow him into any battle. But I’ve had a longer time to develop that. And so that’s where we would be.
Chris Lea: (56:25)
Mike Krzyzewski: (56:26)
Vashti Hurt: (56:27)
Hi, coach. Vashti Hurt with Carolina Blitz.
Mike Krzyzewski: (56:29)
Sorry, that was quick. See, now it took a lady for you all to understand how to cut time here.
Vashti Hurt: (56:35)
Mike Krzyzewski: (56:38)
Vashti Hurt: (56:38)
We know your relationship with Bob Knight, and as you look at your own coaching tree, what role does that play in your legacy, and the legacy that you’re leaving as a coach?
Mike Krzyzewski: (56:50)
Well, I’ll let someone else determine that. For me, I’m just proud of not just guys who have become coaches, but guys who’ve become great pros.
Mike Krzyzewski: (57:04)
But not just in basketball. A lot of guys, you see what Tatum’s doing, you still see what Grant Hill and all those guys are doing. But it’s the other guys who are in business. So I just take a lot of pride in the fact that I’ve been lucky, that part of becoming a really outstanding player, use that word, “Balance,” is for a player to understand balance. And so, they should not only become better players, they should become better people here. They should understand the value of academics. And so again, I’ve been really lucky for 41 years. I have Duke helping teach this. They’re around. Every kid here is talented. When they don’t play here and they’re out there, wherever they walk, they’re next to somebody who has talent. They’re next to every gender, every race, every religion, every nationality. They’re exposed to inclusion, they’re exposed to diversity, they’re exposed to talent, and that’s helped me keep that balance.
Mike Krzyzewski: (58:33)
Coaching at West Point and Duke? Wow. Wow. And that’s helped me in that regard.
Vashti Hurt: (58:46)
Mike Krzyzewski: (58:46)
Speaker 6: (58:46)
You have time for two more questions. We’ll go Tom Shanahan first, and then Kip Coons.
Tom Shanahan: (58:54)
Hi, coach, Tom Shanahan, Wilson Times. A lot of coaches do not adapt to the times and culture that you’ve talked about. And you mentioned your family helped you to adjust to the times. I’m wondering what else you learned that helped you adjust in the times over five decades.
Mike Krzyzewski: (59:10)
Well, one, it’s a great, another really good question. I learn from my players. In other words, so I’m 74. Wendell, what are you? 21? No, 20. Not 20 yet, you’re going to be. You’re a young guy. Joey, you’re a bit older. But I’m over 50 years older than these guys. They’re always the same age, I’m always, I keep getting older. So it’s up to me, “How am I going to communicate with them?”
Mike Krzyzewski: (59:42)
And so I learned from them. Learned current music, current culture, some phrases. I got to keep my shoe game up. Some of my Nike stuff’s got to be a little bit tighter than my body would probably want. And as a result, they see me listening to them, or trying to be them. Joking, humor has been a big thing. Goofing around. And that’s helped me adjust. That’s helped me adapt. And I’ve said this many times. For me, I adapt to how I communicate, and then how we play. But I do not adapt with the values of a program that we teach them. You just have to teach them where they would receive them. But then I have to be able for them to listen, and to understand. And that keeps you really …
Mike Krzyzewski: (01:01:02)
Know your audience, know your team, know who you’re leading. And then figure out how to lead them, but never change from the principles of integrity and courage and respect, selfless service, loyalty, trust, duty. Those will never die. Those will never die. But then how you get those across, and the timeframe that you have to get them across, that’s the thing that’s important.
Tom Shanahan: (01:01:34)
Mike Krzyzewski: (01:01:34)
Yeah. Hey, Kip.
Kip Coons: (01:01:36)
Hi, Mike. As someone who’s been here since the beginning-
Mike Krzyzewski: (01:01:41)
Kip Coons: (01:01:41)
And went through six different media outlets, I can tell you that we’re really going to miss you. It’s been a tremendous ride and you deserve all the congratulations-
Mike Krzyzewski: (01:01:53)
Kip Coons: (01:01:53)
And success that has come your way. Kevin White mentioned that your loyalty and commitment to your players was unmatched. How much did that play into the one more year, to honor that commitment to players you’re recruited for next season?
Mike Krzyzewski: (01:02:13)
Yeah, it’s not the only factor, but it’s certainly a factor. One, I want to coach for one more year. But that did weigh in. I’m excited to coach Joey and Wendell and Keenan, Michael, the freshmen that are coming in, our two grad transfers. And that would not have been good if I tell them, “I’m not going to coach.” That’s not the only factor, though. But it is a factor. Like, “You gave your word, now follow up.”
Mike Krzyzewski: (01:02:56)
Now that’s why recruiting for the future is difficult, because you can’t give your word. But John Nolan and Chris can give their word, and their word is golden. And this next generation of teams that we will have will be based on telling them the truth, complete transparency, and then putting it on the line. And that’s why this process, I think, is the best succession plan that we could we could have.
Mike Krzyzewski: (01:03:31)
And don’t try to compare it to any other succession plan. This is ours. This is ours. And we got the people in place to get it done. Thanks, Kip.
Speaker 6: (01:03:46)
All right, coach. Thank you very much for your time.
Kip Coons: (01:03:48)
Let me just say one last thing. Thank you, Mike. Vince, Kevin, Nina, thank you. I thank everyone for everyone setting this up. John Jackson had the idea for Coach K Court right here. What a creative guy he has become. We’re going to have to … We just found a talent that really has never been exhibited before with the … But it’s a cool thing.
Kip Coons: (01:04:16)
And look, in front of everyone, I want to thank my family. They are with me every step of the way. And for having all of them here today, just tremendous. And a message to our students: Come back in August, man, and we’re going to be ready, you be ready, and let’s see what happens. Let’s see what the hell happens. And it’s going to be an exciting era, and I’m looking forward to it. All right. Thank you all for being here.