Duke basketball: Successor for Mike Krzyzewski closer than many think

Duke basketball coaching staff (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)
Duke basketball coaching staff (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images) /

A replacement for Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski could be closer than anyone thinks.

The million-dollar question surrounding the Duke basketball program is when will Mike Krzyzewski hang up his suit and retire from his watch over the Blue Devils.

Whenever the Hall of Famer decides to call it quits, many have speculated that his successor will come from either a former assistant or player of his: Jeff Capel, Bobby Hurley, Steve Wojciechowski, Jon Scheyer, etc.

There was even a pipe dream of Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens coming to Durham until the former Butler coach signed a six-year extension in August.

However, there is one potential candidate who has not been getting any recognition but should, and that’s Duke women’s head coach Kara Lawson.

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Lawson has the experience at coaching high-level basketball, at a men’s and women’s intensity, and arrived in Durham to replace head coach Joanne P. McCallie this summer.

Former Blue Devil Jayson Tatum, who Lawson coached as an assistant with the Celtics, was a major advocate of Lawson landing the head coaching job at Duke. Evident from the Duke Women’s Basketball Twitter account, the 39-year-old certainly knows how to communicate with her team.


Many would expect Krzyzewski to have at least four more seasons as the head coach of Duke, giving Lawson four years of grooming in Durham and gaining valuable experience as a head coach.

Kara Lawson was a WNBA champion, WNBA All-Star, and had four years of coaching from the legendary Pat Summit during her time at Tennessee.

Duke basketball hiring Kara Lawson would send shockwaves across the country

Not only would a Kara Lawson hire be excellent because she has a great basketball mind and is an outstanding teacher of the game, but it would be a transformative hire as a female being the head coach of a men’s basketball program.

Tamara Moore became the first female to be the head coach of a men’s college basketball program this spring at Mesabi Range College (JUCO).

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Edniesha Curry is the only female coaching in Division I men’s college basketball as an assistant coach at the University of Maine.

Duke University and its basketball programs have been at the forefront of calling for social and racial equality this year, and when the time comes, there could be a chance for the Blue Devils to make the biggest splash in men’s college basketball since the 1966 Texas Western Miners.

Perhaps just another pipe dream like Brad Stevens, but Kara Lawson would be a terrific successor for Mike Krzyzewski when the time comes.

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