Coach K returns for 2016 Olympics
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Mike Krzyzewski tried to walk away from USA Basketball after two Olympic gold medals, one world championship and a 62-1 record.
He tried to leave it all behind.
But he couldn’t.
The bonds forged with players and USA Basketball staffers are too tight and his love of country – he’s a West Point guy – too strong to step down.
Krzyzewski and USA Basketball made it official Thursday: the 66-year-old Duke coach and Hall of Famer will return as coach of the U.S. men’s basketball team through the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“It is tough to give up something you’ve absolutely loved doing for seven years, the people you’re doing it with, and most importantly, the country you’re doing it for,” Krzyzewski said in a statement. “As a result of my ongoing desire to coach, I’ve decided I’d like to continue as head coach of the men’s national team especially since USA Basketball wanted me to do so. It just seems like the right thing to do.
“There is no greater honor than to coach your country’s team and to be afforded the unique opportunity to be the national team coach three times is incredible. I do not take that responsibility lightly.”
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo wanted Krzyzewski back and had a strategy even though Krzyzewski said repeatedly the London Olympics were his last as coach of the U.S. team. Colangelo gave Krzyzewski all the time he needed, and Colangelo never truly began looking for a replacement.
“About four years ago I was asked about Coach K’s return and what I said then is still true now – when you have a good thing going you don’t mess with it,” Colangelo said in a statement. “I really can’t be more pleased and excited. He was and still is the right man to coach the USA national team.”
At the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions in early September – nearly a month after the London Olympics – Colangelo began to notice Krzyzewski was having “withdrawal symptoms.”
Colangelo played the situation right.
“Working with the people at USA Basketball, particularly Jerry Colangelo, has been remarkable,” … [For more on Mike Krzyzewski to stick with Team USA through 2016 Olympics, click here.]