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Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is looking forward to more time with family after retirement

Before "Coach K" hangs up the whistle, he said he and the Blue Devils plan to go for another national title run "as hard as we possibly can."

Duke University men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has more wins than anyone in college hoops history, insisted Thursday that increased time with family, not old age or health, prompted his decision to retire.

The upcoming 2021-22 season will be his last campaign running the storied Blue Devils basketball program, he and the university disclosed on Wednesday.

Krzyzewski (pronounced shuh-SHEF-ski) said health, age, the changing landscape of college basketball and continuing challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic were not the main factors in this move.

"I always felt that you, you would know when to stop if you weren't ready to do all the things necessary to do what you do," Krzyzewski told reporters at Cameron Indoor Stadium. "I want to use some of the things that I have to prepare for, that time, with them (family members)."

The 74-year-old basketball legend, known as "Coach K," said he and his wife have been discussing his potential retirement for the past few years. And those chats got more serious six to eight weeks ago, the coach said.

Duke Blue Devils basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski answers a question at a press conference at Cameron Indoor Stadium announcing his plan to retire after the 2021-22 season in Durham, N.C., on June 3, 2021.Nell Redmond / USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

"We came to the agreement that we really wanted to coach this year and that this would be the last year," he said.

Krzyzewski called his wildly successful run in Durham a "journey," one that will come to an end in 2022.

"The reason we're doing this is because Mickie and I have decided the journey is going to be over in a year," he said. "And we're going after it (another national title) as hard as we possibly can."

Throughout his hourlong meeting with reporters, Krzyzewski continually used the word "lucky" to describe the opportunities handed to him by teachers, family and employers.

"I've been a very lucky guy. I mean a really lucky guy," said Krzyzewski, who grew up in a heavily Polish neighborhood on the Northside of Chicago. "I wanted to be coach. I wanted to be teacher. And that's what I've been."

Krzyzewski said that at every turn of his career, co-workers, bosses, friends and family were always behind him: "The best opportunities are the opportunities that are backed up with belief."

Duke administrators said they were looking forward to the Blue Devils making a final run in the annual NCAA Tournament known as "March Madness."

Krzyzewski said he hopes to have more than a win or two in March. He's banking on six more NCAA Tournament games: "It's not about having a run. It's about having a finish."

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils cuts down the net after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 66-52 in the South Regional Final of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at NRG Stadium on March 29, 2015 in Houston.Tom Pennington / Getty Images file

Duke President Vincent Price said he couldn't articulate Krzyzewski's contributions to the school in Durham, North Carolina.

"We let the numbers do the talking for us," Price said before rattling off the list of accomplishments. "Mike has been resolutely and zealously committed to Duke University."

Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to 97 NCAA Tournament wins, 12 Final Fours, 12 Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles, 15 ACC Tournament crowns and five national championships.

He's also led America to three Olympic gold medals as coach of Team USA's men's basketball team. The coach was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

Athletic Director Kevin White simply called him the best coach in the game's history.

"Mike, you are the G.O.A.T.," he said, using the acronym for "greatest of all time." "There are no words to account for what will be 42 magical years."

Krzyzewski's assistant, Jon Scheyer, a former player who led Duke to the 2010 national title, has been tabbed to take over at the end of next season. He was a two-time team captain and his 2,077-career points ranks 10th in school history.