Krzyzewski won’t leave his final Smith Center game with a retirement gift

By R.L. Bynum

When coaches go through the final seasons of their careers, it often becomes a retirement tour with gifts handed out at each stop.

That won’t happen on Feb. 5 when Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski coaches his final game at the Smith Center.

When Krzyzewski won his 1,000th career game in 2015, Carolina had a brief ceremony before the Duke game at the Smith Center later that season and gave Krzyzewski a plaque commemorating the milestone.

The UNC fanbase didn’t react enthusiastically to that move.

“No, we’re not planning on presenting a chair or anything to Coach Krzyzewski,” Steve Kirschner, UNC’s senior athletic director for communications, said after Coach Hubert Davis was asked about it during Friday’s press availability.

When coaches go through the final seasons of their careers, it often becomes a retirement tour with gifts handed out at each stop. That happen on Feb. 5 when Mike Krzyzewski coaches his final game at the Smith Center.
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“Obviously, we have tremendous respect for what Coach K has meant, to not just the Duke-Carolina rivalry but to college basketball,” Kirschner said. “In fact, I think we’re the only school that gave Coach Krzyzewski a plaque after he won his thousandth game at Duke. So, we will make mention of it when we introduce the starting lineups. But, beyond that, and we’ve spoken to Duke about that and they understand what we’re doing.”

Before Duke’s game Saturday at Louisville, Krzyzewski was presented with a Louisville Slugger bat and an etched bottle of Maker’s Mark.

While Roy Williams, who will be honored at Saturday’s home game against N.C. State, decided to retire after last season, making way for Hubert Davis to take over as head coach, Krzyzewski went a different route. He’s coaching one final season before handing over head coaching duties next season to Jon Scheyer, who currently is his top assistant.

ACC pool photo

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