Marquette hires Duke’s ’Wojo’ as next hoop coach
Marquette has picked Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski as its next men’s basketball coach.
The school announced its hiring of the 37-year-old Wojciechowski on Tuesday.
University President-Elect Michael Lovell said in a statement that Wojciechowski has “led under one of the top coaches in the nation” in Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.
Lovell said he “quickly became confident and convinced” that Wojciechowski was the right fit.
He takes over for Buzz Williams, who left for Virginia Tech last month. He led Marquette to a 139-69 record and five NCAA tournament appearances in six seasons but missed the tournament this year.
Wojciechowski becomes the second Krzyzewski assistant in two years to land a head coaching job at a program in a major conference. Chris Collins just finished his first season at Northwestern.
“I come from an environment where the expectation is to win, and that is why I chose Marquette,” Wojciechowski said.
Interim Marquette athletic director Bill Cords said Wojciechowski was the only finalist who wasn’t already a head coach.
“Steve’s contagious energy, drive and passion for the game stood out among the candidates,” Cords said, adding that he was “the most sought-after assistant coach in the country.”
The Golden Eagles, picked to win the reconfigured Big East this season, finished sixth in the 10-team league with a 17-15 record and had their eight-year run of NCAA tournament appearances snapped.
They’re hoping Wojciechowski can get them back there.
He was a star guard for Krzyzewski’s Duke teams from 1994-98 who was known for slapping the floor when the Blue Devils needed a big defensive stop. Wojciechowski has been on Duke’s staff since 1999, was promoted to associate head coach in 2008 and has worked primarily with the post players during his 15 seasons on the staff.
Though Wojciechowski has never been a head coach at any level, Krzyzewski has long said he considers him a head coach. When the Hall of Fame coach felt dizzy and light-headed during in a loss at Wake Forest last month, Wojciechowski filled in for him at his postgame news conference.
“Steve gave his heart and soul to me, our program, our community and Duke for 20 years,” Krzyzewski said. “He was a vital part of the successes we have had. He made me better every day and I know that he will make Marquette and the Milwaukee community better every day. He is a very special coach and person.”
Wojciechowski was selected as the national defensive player of the year in 1998 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. During the final three years of his playing career at Duke, the Blue Devils were 74-26.
It’s been a big past few weeks for those in Krzyzewski’s coaching tree: Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins reached the NCAA tournament for the first time as a head coach and Tommy Amaker’s Harvard team upset Cincinnati in its tournament opener.