Marquette hires Duke’s ‘Wojo’ as coach

Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, second from left, react to a Blue Devil basket against the Georgia Tech in the first half of a game Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Atlanta.
Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, second from left, react to a Blue Devil basket against the Georgia Tech in the first half of a game Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Marquette has hired Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski as its next men’s basketball coach.

The university announced the hire Tuesday afternoon in a press release.

The 37-year-old Wojciechowski 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 Mike Krzyzewski assistant in two years to land a head coaching job at a program in a major conference. Chris Collins left last spring for Northwestern.

“I come from an environment where the expectation is to win, and that is why I chose Marquette,” Wojciechowski said in the press release. “I am particularly impressed with Marquette’s investment in men’s basketball and I’m thrilled to join an institution with so much rich history in both basketball and academic excellence. Having been a student-athlete, I know first-hand what it takes to succeed both on and off the court, and I bring tremendous passion when it comes to shaping our players into successful athletes and men.”

“Steve’s contagious energy, drive and passion for the game stood out among the candidates. He is loyal, a tenacious recruiter, has a proven track record and was the most sought after assistant coach in the country,” said Marquette Interim Vice President and Athletic Director Bill Cords in the release. “This was the largest and deepest field of coaches we have ever experienced since I began in 1989. We had many great finalists, all of whom were head coaches, with the exception of Steve. He clearly emerged as the best person to be the head basketball coach at Marquette University. As both a player and a coach, he comes from a program that has a rich and proud tradition and knows what it takes to get to the top.”

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.

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.

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