Coach K will miss Duke basketball game at Wake Forest tonight

Number 8 Duke will play a key ACC game at Wake Forest on Wednesday night without coach Mike Krzyzewski on the bench.

Krzyzewski, 74, suffers from a non-COVID virus and will not be making the short trip to Winston-Salem for the 7 p.m. game, the school said.

Associate Head Coach Jon Scheyer will take on the head coaching duties in what will serve as a first look at the arrangement already in the works for next season. Krzyzewski announced last June that he would retire after this season and Scheyer has been named his successor.

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Associate Head Coach Jon Scheyer chats with Jeremy Roach (3) during the second half of Duke’s 69-57 win over Georgia Tech at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

This is the second time in two seasons that Scheyer has been head coach due to Krzyzewski’s absence. On January 6, 2021, while Krzyzewski was in quarantine at home after his daughter and granddaughter tested positive for COVID-19, Scheyer coached the Blue Devils to an 83-82 victory over Boston College at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

On Wednesday night, Duke (12-2, 2-1 ACC) played his first game since losing 76-74 at home to Miami on Saturday night.

Missing at least one member of his coaching staff has become a regular occurrence for the Blue Devils this season. The Miami game was the first time Duke had his full coaching staff on the bench since a Nov. 30 loss at Ohio State.

Assistant coach Chris Carrawell missed three non-conference games in December after undergoing knee replacement surgery. Assistant coach Nolan Smith missed two games in December, including the ACC 76-65 opening win over Virginia Tech, while in COVID-19 quarantine.

Director of Player Development Amile Jefferson was in COVID-19 isolation when Duke defeated Georgia Tech, 69-57, on Jan.4.

In addition to Scheyer’s only previous game in the head coach chair last season, the Blue Devils have played without Krzyzewski on several occasions over the past five years due to various illnesses.

Jeff Capel, now Pittsburgh’s head coach, coached the Blue Devils for seven games during the 2016-17 season after Krzyzewski underwent back surgery. Duke’s associate head coach at the time, Capel also managed a game during the 2017-18 season when Krzyzewski was ill as well as a game at Georgia Tech during the 2015-16 season when Krzyzewski suffered a heart test battery at Duke Hospital.

Including last season’s win over Boston College with Scheyer as interim head coach, the Blue Devils are 7-3 in that streak without Krzyzewski on the bench.

Coverage of Duke’s win over Wake Forest with Scheyer in the lead:

This story was originally published January 12, 2022 2:45 p.m.

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Steve Wiseman has been covering Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and the Raleigh News & Observer. He placed second in both rhythm writing and breaking news in the 2019 Associated Press Sports Editors National Competition. Previously, Steve worked for The State (Columbia, SC), Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC), The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), Charlotte Observer and Hickory (NC) Daily Record covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the SC General Assembly. He has won numerous awards from state-level press associations. Steve graduated from Illinois State University in 1989.

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