College hoops head coaches who replaced legends

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Former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and new head coach Jon Scheyer look on during the first half against the Cal State Fullerton Titans in the first round game of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and new head coach Jon Scheyer look on during the first half against the Cal State Fullerton Titans in the first round game of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Image: Getty Images

As of this past Saturday, we have officially entered the Jon Scheyer era in Duke basketball. A first-time head coach, hand-picked by Mike Krzyzewski as his successor, Scheyer has been rising the ranks as an assistant coach with the Blue Devils since 2013.

To go out on top, maintaining a good relationship with the school you’re leaving, apparently allows you some say in how a program that you have built ought to continue. While Scheyer has no previous head coaching experience, is it safe to trust Coach K’s wisdom one last time in doing what is best for Duke basketball — a decision he has had to make countless times over the last four decades?

As Duke heads into their first great unknown of this century with Scheyer, we take a look back at other college coaches who were put in the impossible position of succeeding a legend in the sport — some of whom stepped up from longtime assistant roles, as Scheyer will do, and others who had previous head coaching experience elsewhere, as Roy Williams did. Each had enormous shoes to fill, and did so to varying degrees of success.

Scheyer has, at least, been given the benefit of a sort of training-wheels year during the controversial Coach K retirement tour — many of the coaches on this list were just as surprised as the rest of us to hear that their boss would be retiring.

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