Seeking a 3rd gold medal in 2016, Coach K will again be on the sidelines for Team USA
Coach Mike Krzyzewski, better known to the basketball world as ‘Coach K’ will be returning to the Olympics as coach of Team USA basketball in 2016 when the games are played in Rio De Janiero, Brazil . Coach K will be seeking his third Olympic gold medal with the team, and boasts a 62-1 record thus far in his coaching career with Team USA.
No formal announcement has been made, that is expected to be made in the next several days, Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel broke the news that sources close to the story have confirmed Coach Krzyzewski’s extension.
Coach K became the national team head coach following Larry Bird’s failure to motivate his star studded roster at the 2004 games. The team didn’t play with the passion needed to win games on the international level and as a result stumbled its way to a disappointing bronze medal finish that year. Since a loss shortly after taking over the team in 2006, Team USA has not lost under Coach K’s guidance.
Although it may seem unusual for the USA, international basketballs powerhouse team year in and year out, to hand over the reigns to a collegiate coach rather than a pro coach, looking at Coach K’s credentials make it clear he is one of the best in the business. The very court he coaches on at Duke has been named after him, and he has become synonymous with the school. In his 33 years of coaching Duke, the 66 year old has taken his team to four National Championships and eleven Final Fours. His team has also won the regular season ACC title twelve times while winning the ACC conference tournament thirteen times. In the process of winning all of these titles, he has compiled an incredible 884-238 all time record, giving him a win percentage just shy of 79%.
This year’s team does not have any players committed to it, although marquee names such as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Dwight Howard have played for the prized gold medal previously and likely will participate again if able. As far as the coaching staff around the Duke coach is concerned, fellow collegiate coach Jim Boeheim of Syracuse has expressed an interest in returning as an assistant. The rest of the coaching staff is currently up in the air, possibly facing several changes.
Coach K had been rumored to be stepping down from the post, something he himself expressed a desire to do following the 2012 games in London. However, USA basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo wouldn’t take an answer from Coach K either way until after the completion of the college season. The wait paid off and he will retain his man. This could not have been what Michigan State coach Tom Izzo had been hoping for. Izzo has expressed interest in the position in the past, and attempted to earn the job for the 2016Olympic games. The return of Coach K means he failed to do so, certainly disappointing the famed Michigan State coach.
Team USA is always a talented enough team to win gold, and retaining a coach who has proven capable of getting them back on the podium certainly makes them a contender come 2016.
By: Charlie Gille