Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
After a standout playing career at Duke that included National Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1998, Steve Wojciechowski returned as an assistant coach for Mike Krzyzewski in 1999-2000. He was promoted to Associate Head Coach in the summer of 2008.
Since Wojciechowski joined the Duke staff, the Blue Devils have posted an incredible 441-92 record, won nine ACC Tournament championships and claimed the ACC regular season championship five times. Wojciechowski has also been on the staff for two NCAA Championships.
Wojciechowski also served as a court coach and scout for Mike Krzyzewski, assisting the USA Basketball Senior National Team staff with on-court duties as well as game preparation from 2006-12, including the program’s gold-medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. With Coach K continuing his duties as national team head coach, Wojciechowski will remain a part of the program for the 2013-16 quadrennium.
In his first season as a coach, he was instrumental in leading Duke, with seven freshmen on its roster, to a 29-5 record, the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title (15-1), the 2000 ACC Tournament championship, an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance and the No. 1 ranking in both major polls following the regular season.
Working primarily with Duke’s inside players, Wojciechowski’s second year was even better as the Blue Devils won the national championship in 2001, while also capturing the ACC regular season and tournament crowns and posting a 35-4 record. His influence was evident throughout the year, from the emergence of Casey Sanders as a bona fide inside presence to Reggie Love’s strong performances in the ACC Tournament to Carlos Boozer’s inspired play at the Final Four after missing six games and playing a limited role in the East Regional semifinal and final. Wojciechowski saw one of his former teammates and pupils, Shane Battier, earn the consensus National Player of the Year award as well as National Defensive Player of the Year for the third consecutive season.
“When you come to Duke,” said Wojciechowski following Duke’s third NCAA title in 11 seasons in 2001, “every year your goal is the national championship. When you don’t win one, there is a part of you that feels some emptiness. That was certainly erased with the 2001 championship.”
In 2001-02, Wojciechowski was instrumental in leading the Blue Devils to a 31-4 record, their fourth consecutive ACC Tournament championship and fourth straight No. 1 finish in the final Associated Press poll. His primary pupil, Boozer, earned All-America honors and became Duke’s career field goal percentage leader. Forward Mike Dunleavy, who moved inside more during the 2001-02 season, also earned All-America honors.
The Blue Devils went 26-7 in 2002-03, won their league-record fifth consecutive ACC Tournament title and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the sixth straight season. Wojciechowski’s instruction was again felt as senior Casey Sanders, junior Nick Horvath, and freshmen Shelden Williams and Shavlik Randolph all improved as the season progressed.
“He’s like a fireball of energy,” said Sanders, who was named Duke’s Defensive MVP following his senior season. “It’s really hard to describe. He expects us to be alert and alive at all times, and he pumps it into everything we do.”
Duke earned its second trip to the Final Four during Wojciechowski’s coaching tenure in 2003-04. Another one of his post pupils, Williams, earned All-America recognition and was the leading vote-getter for the ACC All-Defensive team. The Blue Devils went 31-6 overall, won the regular season ACC title and played in their sixth consecutive ACC Tournament Championship Game before advancing to San Antonio and the Final Four.
In 2004-05, Williams was named the NABC’s National Defensive Player of the Year after registering 122 blocked shots and averaging 11.2 rebounds per contest. Duke posted a 27-6 ledger for the year and captured the ACC Tournament title with wins over Virginia, N.C. State and Georgia Tech on consecutive days.
For the 2005-06 season, Williams was again named the NABC’s National Defensive Player of the Year as well as a first team All-American. Wojciechowski also saw Williams set school records for career blocked shots and rebounds, while also becoming the first player in NCAA history to register over 1,750 points, 1,250 rebounds, 400 blocked shots and 150 steals in a career. Duke posted a 32-4 record, the program’s fourth 30-win season in Wojciechowski’s tenure, and captured the ACC regular season and tournament crowns.
“He was a point guard and fed the big men the ball a lot so he knows where the ball is supposed to be and where we are supposed to be posting up,” said Williams. “He has done a good job giving us a guard’s view of where we need to be posting our bodies in order to get the ball in good position. Also, his energy and passion for the game are unmatched.”
In the 2006-07 season, Wojciechowski directed a young group of inside players to a successful season. He helped develop one of Duke’s most versatile inside players ever as Josh McRoberts was one of only two players in the country to average over 10.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks per game. McRoberts went on to earn second team All-ACC recognition.
Wojciechowski coached freshman Kyle Singler to a terrific season in 2007-08 that culminated with him earning ACC Rookie of the Year and third team Freshman All-America honors. Singler was second on the team with 13.3 points per game while leading the squad in rebounding with 5.8 rebounds per game.
In 2008-09, Wojciechowski coached Singler to second team All-ACC honors as he became only the sixth sophomore in Duke history to reach 1,000 career points. He averaged 16.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game on his way to earning honorable mention All-America honors by the Associated Press. He had nine double-doubles and scored 20 or more points in 11 games.
The post players under Wojciechowski were a big reason the 2009-10 team was able to win the NCAA Championship, the ACC Tournament, the ACC Regular Season and NIT Season Tip-Off titles. Defense and rebounding was key for the Blue Devils who had one of the nation’s top defenses, holding opponents to 61.0 points per game, and ranked 14th out of 334 teams in rebounding margin. One of those post players, senior Brian Zoubek, set the school record for offensive rebounds in a single season with 143. The other starter on the inside, senior Lance Thomas, was named to the ACC All-Defensive team by the coaches and the media.
In 2010-11, Wojciechowski guided the development of a young Duke frontcourt. Sophomores Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly witnessed stark improvement across the board in their numbers from their freshmen campaigns, while junior Miles Plumlee continued his growth as a back-to-the-basket scorer and rebounder. All three players shot better than 50.0 percent from the field and combined for 16.0 rebounds per game. Mason Plumlee was an honorable mention All-ACC selection while ranking among the conference leaders in rebounds (8.4 rpg), blocks (62) and double-figure rebounding games (14). He raised his rebounding average by 5.3 rpg., the largest increase by a player in the last 39 years. Kelly made 27 starts and ranked in the top 10 in the ACC in blocks (52). He also had a string of 18 consecutive made field goals (second most in Duke history) during the year with seven of those coming from behind the three-point stripe. Miles Plumlee made 15 starts and grabbed second team ACC All-Tournament team honors after averaging 8.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in Greensboro.
Duke’s post trio of Ryan Kelly, Mason Plumlee and Miles Plumlee helped guide the Blue Devils to a 27-7 record, No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and the Maui Invitational in 2011-12. The group combined to average 29.5 points and 21.7 rebounds per game with 118 blocked shots. Kelly raised his scoring average to 11.8 points per game, while shooting a team-high 40.8 percent (40-of-98) from three-point distance before missing the final three games of the year with a foot injury. Mason Plumlee, a third team All-ACC selection, ranked among the ACC leaders in double-doubles (12), rebounds (9.2 rpg.) and blocks (1.6 bpg.), while also averaging 11.1 points per game. He set a school-record with 60 dunks on the year and shot 57.2 percent (143-of-250) from the field. Miles Plumlee recorded 6.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game to close out his career. He established a Coach K-era record with 22 rebounds, including nine offensive boards, in a Feb. 8 win over Maryland.
In 2012-13, Wojciechowski saw senior Mason Plumlee blossom into a dominating force on the interior. Plumlee averaged 17.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game en route to earning second team All-America honors. He was also named Pete Newell Big Man of the Year by the NABC after shooting 59.9 percent from the field with a school-record 87 dunks. Ryan Kelly was also having a terrific senior season before suffering a foot injury early in January. Kelly returned in spectacular fashion with 36 points and seven three-point field goals in a March 2 win over fifth-ranked Miami. Kelly went on to earn honorable mention All-ACC honors despite appearing in just five league games.
“Wojo is a terrific coach and was instrumental in my development at Duke,” said Plumlee. “He does a great job teaching the nuances of post play, while also pushing players to reach their full potential. He really helped me improve and grow as a player and as a person.”
The 2013-14 season saw the Blue Devils finish 26-9, including an undefeated 17-0 mark at home, while advancing to the ACC Championship game and drawing a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Wojciechowski aided in the development of consensus first team All-America Jabari Parker and All-ACC selection Rodney Hood, a duo that combined to average 33.6 points per game. Duke was ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 in 15 of 20 polls and climbed to as high as No. 4 after upending No. 1 Syracuse on Feb. 22.
Following his 1998 graduation, Wojciechowski spent time playing professional basketball in Poland before returning to Duke. He spent 1999 as an intern in the Duke Management Company and as a sideline analyst for the Duke Radio Network’s coverage of the Blue Devil basketball program.
Wojciechowski played a major role in the resurgence of Duke basketball over his last three years as a collegian. Following a difficult freshman campaign in which the Blue Devils went 13-18, Wojciechowski helped pace the program to a 74-26 mark over the next three seasons.
During his sophomore year, Wojciechowski appeared in all 31 games as the Blue Devils went 18-13 and earned a trip back to the NCAA Tournament. He started all 33 contests as the team’s point guard during the 1996-97 campaign as the squad collected a 24-9 record, won the ACC regular season title with a 12-4 record, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
But it was the 1997-98 season that completed Duke’s journey back to the top of college basketball. Wojciechowski was a tri-captain for a squad that advanced to the NCAA South Regional title game, finished with a 32-4 overall mark, collected 15 regular season ACC victories, and completed the regular season holding the nation’s top ranking.
Along with being the top defensive player in the country his senior year, the two-time All-ACC choice also secured honorable mention All-America accolades from the AP.
Wojciechowski finished his career ranked in several of Duke’s season and career top 10 lists. He collected the second-highest single season steal total in 1997 with 82 and followed that by tying the 13th-best figure in 1998 with 74. Wojciechowski ranks ninth in career steals with 203 and eighth in career assists with 505.
Wojciechowski is one of four former Blue Devil captains on Mike Krzyzewski's staff, joining Jeff Capel (associate coach), Nate James (assistant coach) and Jon Scheyer (special assistant).
The Severna Park, Md., native is married to the former Lindsay Alder of Salt Lake City, Utah. The couple resides in Durham with their sons, Jack and Charlie.