Roy Williams Reacts to Mike Krzyzewski Retirement from Duke, Praises His Impact

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2021

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 03:  (L-R) Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils talks to head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels before their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 3, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, Jeff Goodman of Stadium reported that legendary Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski plans to retire following the 2021-22 season. 

Later on Wednesday, former Kansas and North Carolina head coach Roy Williams reacted to the news while talking with reporters:

"Everybody knows it's coming. But Mike's been fantastic for the game of basketball, he's been fantastic for college basketball, been fantastic for the ACC. It's the greatest rivalry in sports, Duke and North Carolina basketball. He's been a good friend, he's been a guy I've respected a great deal. He made everybody bring their A-game for years and years and years." 
Chapel Fowler @chapelfowler

Part two (a bit of an overlap) @FO_Sports pic.twitter.com/pgvwABJt87

Krzyzewski, 74, took over as Duke's head coach in 1980 and has gone on to lead the men's basketball program to 1,097 wins (the most in Division I history), five national championships, 12 Final Four appearances, 12 regular-season ACC championships and 15 conference tournament titles. Under his watch, Duke has developed 28 NBA lottery picks. 

He also led the U.S. men's national team to gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics. 

"He's just been phenomenal in everything he's done. The only thing wrong with Mike Krzyzewski is he doesn't play golf," Williams joked. "That's the only thing wrong with him."

Krzyzewski and Williams have had more than a few battles over the years, especially after the latter took over as North Carolina's head coach in 2003. Since then, Duke and North Carolina have combined for 12 regular-season titles (three for Duke, nine for UNC) and 11 conference tournament titles (eight for Duke, three for UNC). 

The ACC will have a different feel without the two men at the helm of the conference's flagships schools, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting Wednesday that Duke associate head coach Jon Scheyer is the favorite to replace Coach K:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Duke talked to outside candidates about replacing Krzyzewski, including Harvard coach Tommy Amaker, sources tell ESPN. Scheyer is Duke's choice to replace K. He was the lead recruiter on such stars as Jayson Tatum and Zion Williamson. https://t.co/6PPi8gVZT8

Hubert Davis is the new head coach at North Carolina, and Williams told reporters he believes the two schools will continue to be dominant forces, even with new leadership. 

"Well, it'll be different. ... But you know, Vic Bubas and Dean Smith left, and Duke and North Carolina were still pretty good," he said. "And Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski leave and it's still going to be pretty good in this area."