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Why Coach K won’t leave Team USA, Duke
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On July 25, 2013 @ 9:10 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
LAS VEGAS — Mike Krzyzewski sensed — for the first time last year — the end of his long and successful coaching career with Duke and USA Basketball.
“I’m in my mid-60s. Is it time? Is that time coming up? I never think of the end, and I said maybe it is,” Krzyzewski told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday in meeting room at Wynn hotel and casino. “You start thinking, ‘Wow, this is wearing you down a little bit.’ Maybe it’s just that time or that time is coming because for the most part, I don’t get worn down coaching.”
That’s the reason Krzyzewski initially said he wasn’t returning to coach the U.S. men’s basketball team for another season. He didn’t think he would be still coaching Duke by then. “As a military person, you wouldn’t take a unit into that level of combat if you weren’t combat-ready,” he said. “That would be the worst thing a leader could do.”
But the 2012-13 Blue Devils season — in which Duke finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight — rejuvenated Krzyzewski.
“I had a really great year with my Duke team. I loved my Duke team this past year,” he said. “Most of the time, I love my Duke team. But I got a little bit refreshed.”
He decided that he would coach Duke through the 2015-16 season — “at least” — and with that decision out of the way, he decided to coach Team USA in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“My wife (Mickie) has always told me, ‘Don’t make the decision to stop coaching when you’re tired,’ ” Krzyzewski said. “For the most part you shouldn’t make decisions if you’re tired because you’re weaker and you’re not sharp.”
The final week of the Olympics was difficult for Krzyzewski, who is 62-1 since taking over the national team in 2005 and has won two Olympic gold medals and one world championship. Upon reflection, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo described Krzyzewski as an irritable bear.
“That was probably, outside of … [For more on Why Coach K just won't retire from Team USA or Duke, click here.]
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