Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot, who coached LeBron James in high school, will retire after season ends

Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot, who coached LeBron James in high school, will retire after season ends - Sports - News

Retiring Glory: Coach Keith Dambrot Leads Duquesne University to Historic NCAA Tournament Appearance After a 47-Year Absence

In an unexpected turn of events, Keith Dambrot, the trailblazing coach who guided LeBron James in high school and led Duquesne University to its first Atlantic-10 Championship in 47 years, announced his plans to retire after the Men’s NCAA basketball tournament ends.

Following an impressive season with a 24-11 record, Dambrot steered his Cinderella team to the coveted tournament field for the first time since 1977. As the No. 11 seeded Dukes prepare to face sixth-seeded Brigham Young on Thursday at 12:40 p.m. ET, the veteran coach made the decision to hang up his whistle for good.

During a recent news conference, Dambrot shared his thoughts on retirement: “I had been considering retiring at the end of the summer, but my wife (Donna)’s illness solidified that decision for me. I made up my mind prior to the season that this would be my final year.”

James, who skyrocketed to national fame as a high school junior graced by a Sports Illustrated cover article, publicly acknowledged Dambrot’s accomplishments via social media on Monday: “THE BEST!!!!!! 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾”

Although James reportedly called Dambrot after the championship game, the coach kept his retirement plans under wraps. “His call reaffirmed our bond and emphasized his care for our team. Although I suspect he might have suspected my intentions, I remain grateful for our friendship,” Dambrot expressed.

During a remarkable 26-year tenure in college basketball, Dambrot helmed five institutions: Tiffin, Ashland, Central Michigan, Akron, and now Duquesne. A total of 528 victories mark his impressive coaching career, with 440 of those triumphs occurring in Division I. He entered this season as one of 28 active NCAA Division I coaches boasting over 500 wins.

At Akron, Dambrot achieved three tournament appearances (most recently in 2013). Now, as he prepares for his farewell tour, the anticipation surrounding his team’s tournament debut serves as a fitting finale to an exceptional career.