Don’t worry, folks. Team USA should be just fine without Mike Krzyzewski upon his retirement following next summer’s Olympic Games. Why? Its replacing one living coaching legend with another.
The future leadership for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team was disclosed today when USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo officially announced that five-time NBA championship and longtime San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has been named head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team for the 2017-20 quadrennium.
Krzyzewski, who confirmed last week that his international coaching career will end after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, will assume an advisory role with USA Basketball beginning in 2017 that lasts through 2020. Managing director Jerry Colango will remain in his position with the national program until the top of the decade, too.
Popovich, a five-time champion and three-time Coach of the Year with the San Antonio Spurs, gushed about the opportunity to continue shepherding the ideals of Team USA that Colangelo and Krzyzewski have implemented since their appointments in 2005.
“I’m extremely humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent our country as the coach of the USA National Team,” said Popovich, a 1970 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. “What the program has accomplished over the last decade under the leadership of Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski is truly impressive. I will do my utmost to maintain the high standards of success, class and character established by Jerry, Coach K and the many players who have sacrificed their time on behalf of USA Basketball.”
San Antonio’s head man has prior experience with the national program as an assistant coach. He served on staff during the 2002 USA World Championships, 2003 FIBA Americas, and 2004 Olympics, compiling a dispiriting 29-7 overall record as USA Basketball placed sixth in the Worlds and won Olympic bronze.
But Popovich’s previous woes with the national team say nothing of his likelihood to help Team USA build on its recent dominance going forward. With unprecedented commitment from basketball’s best players and a blueprint for lasting success that Krzyzewski helped architect, the Americans were primed to thrive in the future regardless of who was chosen to replace him.
With a coach like Popovich at the helm, though, USA Basketball should be fully confident its coming transition will be met with nothing but additional triumph.
(Via USA Basketball)