Colangelo hopes Coach K stays
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Even as Mike Krzyzewski ruled out a return as coach of the U.S. men’s basketball team, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo remained patient.
“What I’ve said along is, with what he has contributed to the USA Basketball program and what’s he accomplished and what he means to it, he was entitled to be given the time to make a final decision,” Colangelo told USA TODAY Sports. “Time has worked to our mutual advantage.”
Now, Krzyzewski is close to committing to another three-plus years with the men’s team, which includes the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Within a few days, we’re going to know for sure,” Colangelo said. “It’s pretty evident by some of the things he said – where at one time there was no shot he would return, it’s a long way from that now.”
Colangelo has waited for as long as he can. USA Basketball needs to begin serious preparations for the 2014 World Cup, which includes a training camp this summer in Las Vegas, and wants a coach in place soon.
Since the U.S. victory over Spain in the gold-medal game in August, Krzyzewski adamantly stated he was done. He said it immediately after the Spain game, at the start of Duke’s 2012-13 season and in February.
But Colangelo’s plan always has been to convince Krzyzewski, 66, for one more run, and declined to discuss potential replacements until he was sure Krzyzewski was not coming back.
Colangelo sensed Krzyzewski, who is 62-1 as coach of the U.S. men, begin to waver in early September at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductions in Springfield, Ill. – about three weeks after the Olympics.
“Time always has a way of healing things,” Colangelo said. “When we were together at the Hall of Fame inductions in Springfield, he was already having some withdrawal symptoms. So, as I read it, it was just a matter of in due course and in due time, he’ll come to a decision.
“It had to be a decision that was right for him and his family and the university … [For more on Jerry Colangelo hopes Coach K will stay with USA hoops, click here.]