Mike Krzyzewski is on the last season of his legendary career as head coach of the Duke Blue Devils. His successor will have big shoes to fill, to say the least. And the man who'll inherit Krzyzewski's job is Jon Scheyer. Currently an assistant to Krzyzewski in Duke, Scheyer might not have gotten the nod of the Blue Devils program if not for Krzyzewski pulling some strings.
According to the book “Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski,” by Ian Connor of the New York Post, Tommy Amaker was supposed to be Krzyzewski's replacement after the 2021-22 season, but Krzyzewski spoke with Amaker, his former player, and influenced him into backing out (h/t Ryan Glasspiegel of the New York Post).
O’Connor reports that Krzyzewski held a Zoom call with Amaker last year and had what a source described as “a very difficult conversation” with him. Coach K explained to Amaker that if he left Harvard to join the Duke staff as a successor-in-waiting for the 2021-22 season, the move would force the demotion of a Blue Devils assistant and “create an awkward dynamic with Scheyer.” Realizing that he didn’t have his mentor’s blessing, Amaker left the call “heartbroken,” according to someone close to him.
“Mike had to explain to Tommy why he couldn’t be the guy,” said one Duke source. “He can be Don Corleone when he needs to be.”
While he's not coaching a powerhouse, Amaker, who played college ball with the Blue Devils, has managed to gain respect in the college basketball sphere with his success in Harvard. Under Amaker, the Crimson managed to make it to the Big Dance a total of four times by way of topping the Ivy League as regular-season champions.
Duke would have been a dream destination for Amaker, but Krzyzewski apparently has other plans that don't include his former player.