Duke basketball: Top five candidates to succeed Coach K

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball alum and current Central Florida head coach Johnny Dawkins (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

2. Johnny Dawkins

Duke guard: 1982-86

Head Coaching Experience: Stanford, 2008-16; UCF, 2016-present

The coveted runner-up. You kids out there, like me, probably only know Johnny Dawkins as the man who almost coached UCF to a tourney win over Zion Williamson and the gang last season. I’ll refer again to Hurley and say if you haven’t gone back and watched the tape on Dawkins, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice.

Dawkins was Duke basketball’s original superstar guard, and by the time he left in 1986, he was the program’s all-time leading scorer (it’s J.J. Redick now, and in case you didn’t know, he can really shoot). He broke through the wall and was a driving force behind Duke becoming a household name in college basketball.

Thanks to Dawkins, making the Final Four has become a yearly prerequisite to a successful season. He went from playing to coaching on Coach K’s staff for 10 years and followed that up with 12 years coaching Division 1 basketball. He has gone a combined 236-159 in his tenures, and he is quite obviously still family in Coach K’s eyes. You can tell by the postgame press conference of that NCAA game last year when K said, “I love Johnny Dawkins. The moments and times we’ve spent together building a program…the connections…We’re family.”

The only reason Dawkins comes in at No. 2 is his age. He’s 56, and you have to think K wants someone who has a few more years on his side. The last reason is his lack of ACC coaching experience, which might not be that important, but I’m of the belief that it’s still the top of the conference food chain. You have to know how to compete and win in the ACC yourself before you can do it at Duke. With that in mind, let’s see the winner…