Legendary College Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski Named 2022 Heisman Humanitarian

Former Duke University Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski has been named the recipient of the 2022 Heisman Humanitarian Award, presented by the Heisman Trophy Trust. 

NEW YORK (October 18, 2022) – The Heisman Trophy Trust is proud to announce that former Duke University Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski will receive the 2022 Heisman Humanitarian Award.

Krzyzewski, whose Emily K Center annually serves up to 2,000 students from K-through-12 in the Durham, N.C. area to provide foundational support in all aspects of their young academic careers, will be presented the honor at the 88th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner Gala on Sunday, Dec. 11 in New York City. As part of the award, he will receive $75,000 to support the Emily K Center, named after Krzyzewski’s mother, to honor the love and strong work ethic that she instilled in him as a youth.

“Best known for his accolades on the court, Coach Krzyzewski has dedicated his time and energy off the court to bettering the lives of young students through the Emily K Center,” said Mike Comerford, President of the Heisman Trophy Trust. “We look forward to honoring Coach Krzyzewski in December as a Heisman Humanitarian and are excited to see what’s next as he transitions to his next stage off the hardwood.”

In addition to the Emily K Center, Krzyzewski supports a variety of philanthropic organizations, including the Duke Children’s Hospital, The Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, the Children’s Miracle Network, and the Hoop Dreams Advisory Council, among others.

This past April, Krzyzewski retired as the winningest basketball coach in NCAA Division I history. During his 42-year career as head coach at Duke, he led the Blue Devils to five national championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015) and an NCAA record 13 Final Four appearances. A 12-time National Coach of the Year, he also led the U.S. men’s national team to gold medals at the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics as well as winning golds in three other international events. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball, College Basketball, United States Olympic, and FIBA Halls of Fame.

“I’d like to thank the Heisman Trust for this tremendous honor, their commitment to our work and their important role in supporting amateur athletics,” said Krzyzewski. “I’m humbled to see the impact that the Emily K Center has had on thousands of young scholars, and I know that my mother would be proud of how her legacy has touched the lives of so many talented individuals.”

Founded in 2006, the Emily K Center started modestly, serving 38 young students. In 2010, the center boasted its first high school graduates. By 2015, the Emily K Center was serving 200 students, featuring programs like Scholars to College and Scholars on Campus. In 2016, the center opened its Game Plan: College program, offering free college advice and support to any Durham-area high school student to further their academic and career goals.

Today, the center empowers up to 2,000 students annually as they pursue their educational and collegiate journeys. Many of these students, like Krzyzewski, will be the first in their families to attend college. Additionally, the center works with approximately 50 Durham organizations that use the center’s facilities for their own community-based programs.

The Heisman Trophy Trust honors the most outstanding college football player each year with the Heisman Memorial Trophy. The Trust has a mission to support amateur athletics and provide greater opportunities to the youth of the United States. The Heisman Humanitarian Award was created as an extension of the Heisman Trophy’s greater outreach to athletes who are providing opportunities to those less fortunate. In addition, the Trust honors our nation’s most esteemed community-minded male and female high school seniors by recognizing and rewarding these outstanding scholar-athletes with the Heisman High School Scholarship.

Krzyzewski is the 16th recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award, following the 2021 award recipient, MLB star Curtis Granderson, and joins an illustrious group of humanitarians including NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, whom he coached as an assistant on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team.

Previous Heisman Humanitarian recipients include:

  • Figure skating Olympic and World champion Kristi Yamaguchi and her work supporting underprivileged children and improving early childhood literacy.
  • World Series-winning MLB manager Joe Torre, who founded the Safe at Home Foundation, dedicated to ending the cycle of domestic violence.
  • All-pro quarterback Boomer Esiason, whose Boomer Esiason Foundation fights cystic fibrosis.
  • Professional golf legend Ernie Els for his unwavering commitment to assisting those with autism.
  • World-renowned soccer player Mia Hamm, who raises funds and awareness for families needing marrow or cord blood transplants and continues to build opportunities for young women in sports.

Tickets to the annual Heisman Dinner Gala are now available for purchase via THIS LINK.


About the Heisman Trophy Trust: The Heisman Trophy Trust annually recognizes the outstanding college football player in the United States. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award. The Trust also has a charitable mission of utilizing sports and educational opportunities to enhance the lives of underserved youth in diverse communities across the country. Our goal through these charitable endeavors is for the Heisman Trophy to symbolize its dedication to enhancing the lives of underserved youth through sports, recreation activities, and educational opportunities. For more information visit Heisman.com.

About the Emily K Center: Quality educational experiences are essential to preparing students for the future, yet systemic barriers create pronounced disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes. The Emily Krzyzewski Center, a nonprofit organization in Durham, North Carolina, implements four distinct programs designed to build on the academic, career, and leadership potential of students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Collectively, the Center’s programs serve students from elementary school through college and equip them with the skills necessary to successfully complete higher education, connect to promising careers, and become agents of change within their communities. The Center amplifies its efforts through partnerships with the local school district, community-based organizations, and universities.