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SB Nation Reacts: Coach K is retiring, what next?

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State Farm Champions Classic - Duke v Michigan State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NCAA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Michigan State Spartan fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.

National Voting Results

Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced this week he will retire at the end of the 2021-2022 college basketball season. As one of the elite coaches in the present college basketball landscape, the news obviously drew widespread coverage, and despite his age and growing concerns of questionable recruiting tactics with the likes of players such as Zion Williamson, still sent some shockwaves around the sport. What will happen to Duke, who, frankly, was arguably not a blue-blood in the sport prior to his assuming the role of head coach? Who will now become the “best” active head coach? Where will Coach K’s legacy fall in the history of the sport? This week’s fan pulse gauges SB Nations fans’ views on the various questions it raised.

First up for fans in this week’s polling zeroed in on where Duke will be following Coach K:

Will Duke stay among college basketball elites?

Perhaps a tad concerning for true Duke fans out there rather than the bandwagoners out there, just a slim majority of 54-percent believe Duke will stay elite. Sure, a majority think the Blue Devils will, but that is an awful slim majority for fans who expect dominance.

What about where Coack K’s legacy ranks all-time in the sport. The next question gauged that.

Where does Coach K rank among all time coaches?

I don’t think Coach K is quite to the level of success that warrants such a high “best ever” ranking, personally. Top-five and definitely top-10 are where the bulk of votes should have been. He’s not outside top-10 in any sane metric, and best ever is a stretch in my view, let alone registering double-digit votes. However, that ended up being the second highest category after top-five.

  1. Best Ever: 18%
  2. Top-Five: 67%
  3. Top-10: 11%
  4. Outside Top-10: 3%

Finally, the last question looks at who the best coach remaining is now. Again, the results are...less than reasonable in their recency bias. I am not arguing Tom Izzo should clearly be No. 1, though that is who I picked. But Mark Few? Seriously? I like Few by all means, and he is a good to great coach, but you’re really stretching the confines of reality if you think he is who becomes the “best active” with Coach K’s retirement. Give me a freaking break. This year aside, Gonzaga usually flames out early in the NCAA tournament and plays in a non-Power Six conference to win all of its conference titles. The Zags have an even easier time than Kansas does in being constant repeat conference champions, and just five Elite Eights, two Final Fours, and zero national titles in a 22-year span is not as impressive as other coaches in this list.

Who becomes the best active basketball coach?

The full breakdown is:

  1. Mark Few 32%
  2. Jay Wright 21%
  3. Tom Izzo 16%
  4. Tony Bennett 9%
  5. Bill Self 8%
  6. John Calipari 7%
  7. Jim Boeheim 6%

To take part in each week’s FanPulse voting sign up here.