June 2, 2021 was a crazyyyy day in the world of sports. First, the Boston Celtics announced some major news including Brad Stevens moving from coach to head of basketball operations. As Twitter was blowing up with that news, Jeff Goodman decided to drop this bomb too:
Yeah, that’s right. The legendary Coach K is hanging them up after this next season. He will get one more trip around the ACC and one more shot at the Big Dance. This news comes a couple months after another historic coach, Roy Williams, decided to retire. Coach K is 74 years old, while Williams is 70, so it was no surprise that either wanted to step away and enjoy some time off.
The question a lot of people are asking themselves, is why now? Why did Coach K decide to announce his retirement now and not later? Well, Goodman had the answer to that one as well:
This is where it gets interesting for Syracuse fans. Sure, the news of Coach K’s retirement is enticing for the Orange faithful. There is only one more Krzyzewski vs. Boeheim battle in the Dome. But what is even more interesting is why Coach K is done– the changing landscape of college basketball.
It has been well documented how the new transfer portal rules have completely turned the sport on its side. Instead of coaches only having to focus on high school recruits in the offseason, now the transfer portal is where you need to focus and make a splash. This is something that Williams and Krzyzewski have never had to deal with. As old school guys, like they are, I’m sure it is something they don’t really want to deal with either.
Plus, the college sports world is about to see the biggest shift it has ever seen. Student athletes are about to be allowed to make money off of their name, image, likeness (NIL). This has been a debate for years now and is most likely going to be approved by the NCAA in July. College coaches are going to have to learn how to navigate NIL. Great coaches will use it as a recruiting tool, coaches that do not lean in, such as older, more stubborn coaches, will be left in the dust. It seems like Williams and Coach K don’t want to be the latter grouping, so instead of having to reinvent the wheel, they are just retiring.
With Krzyzewski and Williams both gone, well at least after next season, Jim Boeheim is the last ACC legend standing. Surprising? Ehhh, kinda. Boeheim is the oldest of the bunch at a whopping 76 years old, but if Syracuse fans know anything about their head coach, they know he doesn’t want to quit any time soon. People have been calling for his retirement for years at this point.
As the oldest, and probably most stubborn of the group, how will Boeheim handle these new changes. He has already seen plenty of players transfer from SU and not done a great job at bringing in talent through the portal. Strike number one. Name, image, likeness hasn’t been fully implemented yet, but can you even imagine Boeheim trying to navigate that? It’s difficult to see him leaning in and really accepting that change too. Strike number two. So, when will strike number three come?
Boeheim has proven himself. He is a national champion, a hall of famer, and one of the greatest to ever do it. But these changes seem like too much. They got to Coach K and eventually will hit Boeheim as well. He should soak up the experience of coaching both of his sons, then enjoy retirement. Maybe Coach B, Coach K, and Coach W can grab a drink together, because sooner rather than later they are all going to have a lot of free time.