Duke Now

Tech-savvy Mike Krzyzewski expected to coach at Duke at least five more years

After his second surgery in as many months, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski wanted to let his boss know that he was all right.

So in the aftermath of his hernia repair surgery at Duke Hospital Monday morning, Krzyzewski sent Duke athletic director Kevin White a text message. Or more accurately, Krzyzewski sent him a picture: A Bitmoji, created in Krzyzewski’s likeness (like a personal avatar or emoji), smiling above the words, “I’m good.”

White, who is in Amelia Island for the ACC’s annual meetings, showed the text to a reporter.

“And here was my response,” White said. “ ‘You’re damn good.’ ”

And White expects him to be “damn good” for the foreseeable future. Krzyzewski, 69, has five years left on his contract, which would take him through the 2020-21 season. White fully expects Krzyzewski to still be on the sidelines at that point – and maybe even longer.

“Mike has a five-year contract in place and his intention is to honor that contract at a minimum,” White said. “Given his unparalleled passion for leadership and the sport of basketball it would not surprise me at all if Mike coaches beyond his current contact. To be sure, and I’ve said this many times, we have the greatest coach at any level and in any sport representing Duke University. So I’d stand behind any of that. And he’s in great shape.”

Krzyzewski’s health has been in the news several times this year. He was unexpectedly hospitalized in February, missing Duke’s Feb. 2 game at Georgia Tech. After a stress test and a two-night stay in the heart wing of the hospital, he was released and allowed to return to his normal activities.

After the season, Krzyzewski underwent total knee replacement surgery on his left knee April 3. He was back to walking unassisted in time for the Blue Devils’ April 21 end-of-season banquet. The knee was the third major joint replacement surgery for Krzyzewski: he had his left hip replaced in 1999 and then the right in 2002.

None of those procedures have slowed Krzyzewski for long, and he isn’t anticipating any problems with his recovery for hernia surgery, either. Krzyzewski is scheduled to be Duke’s commencement speaker on Sunday, and his Olympic coaching duties will be in full swing soon this summer. He will return from Rio de Janeiro in August and jump right into his 37th season at Duke, likely with the nation’s preseason No. 1 team.

And if Krzyzewski can figure out how to use the Bitmoji app, clearly his mental game is strong, too.

“We expect coach Krzyzewski to be Duke’s head coach for a long time,” White said. “His steadfast commitment to Duke is obvious, as is Duke’s to Coach Krzyzewski.”