All great things must come to an end. One of these great things was the era of Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University.

The legendary coach has led the Blue Devils since the 1980-81 season but decided 2021-22 would be his swan song. Somewhat symbolically, Krzyzewski’s last game at the famed Cameron Indoor Stadium came on Saturday against North Carolina, Duke’s archrival during his four-decade tenure on Tobacco Road.

As his epic career comes to a close, let’s rank Coach K’s three best moments with the Blue Devils.

Best Coach K moments at Duke, ranked 

3. Shocking upset over Michael Jordan and the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 1984 ACC Tournament 

This one is special for many reasons. While Duke did not have a great run in the NCAA tournament that year, the Blue Devils upset the Tar Heels in the second round of the 1984 ACC tournament. They had a rough regular season, finishing up 7-7 and they were matched up against Georgia Tech in the first round. After a tough four-point win against the Yellow Jackets in the quarterfinals, Duke faced a matchup with Michael Jordan and top-ranked North Carolina.

While everyone expected the Blue Devils to lose comfortably, especially due to the even then recognized greatness of Air Jordan, Krzyzewski and his players upset the ACC and the entire nation by pulling out a 77-75 win. At the time, the Tar Heels were 14-0 and heavy national title favorites, but they were upset by Coach K’s upstart Blue Devils squad.

Unfortunately for Krzyzewski, Duke lost to the Len Bias-led Maryland Terrapins in the final of the ACC Tournament. In the Big Dance, they lost in the Round of 32 to the sixth-seeded Washington Huskies. Still, despite their results in the big tournament, beating Jordan and the Tar Heels in March was a key achievement for Duke basketball, paving the way for Coach K to establish the Blue Devils as a perennial NCAA powerhouse.

2. ‘Miracle Minute’ against Maryland in 2001 

When we speak about iconic moments for Duke Blue Devils, this one has to be up there. Playing against Maryland in front of their packed Cole Field House on January 27th, 2001, the Blue Devils put together one of the most memorable sequences in college basketball history.

With exactly one minute to go in the game, the Terrapins held a seemingly insurmountable 10-point lead over the Blue Devils. Then Jay Williams, a consensus First Team All-American during his two years at Duke, took over.

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He needed just seven seconds to get a layup, then stole the ball and took the lead down to five with a contested three as the game clock read 48 seconds. Maryland missed two free throws, then Williams drained another triple, bringing the lead down to just two with just over 40 seconds left to play. One more steal by Duke led to a Mike Dunleavy missed three, but Nate James grabbed the miss and was fouled, subsequently tying the game with two free throws.

Duke ultimately prevailed in overtime, earning an instant-classic 98-96 win in a season Krzyzewski led the Blue Devils to their third national championship.

1. ‘The Shot’ against Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA Tournament 

‘The Shot’ isn’t just the most unforgettable moment of Krzyzewski’s tenure at Duke, but perhaps the most iconic play in the history of college basketball. Christian Laettner’s game-winning, buzzer-beating turnaround jumper to beat the Kentucky Wildcats sent the Blue Devils back to the Final Four, where they won a second consecutive national title after beating Michigan’s ‘Fab Five’ in the final.

With 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime and his team down 103-102, future NBA All-Star Grant Hill inbounded the ball along Duke’s baseline with a baseball-style throw to the opposite free-throw line. Awaiting was Laettner, the National College Player of the Year in 1992, who high-pointed the ball on the catch, faked right, then turned over his left shoulder for a tough fadeaway at the buzzer.



It was truly an amazing moment in NCAA history, one of countless instances throughout his career of Coach K and his players leaving an indelible mark on the game of basketball.