Coach K again says he won’t be back to lead U.S. team
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK -- Mike Krzyzewski said again Tuesday he doesn’t plan to return as U.S. men’s basketball coach after leading the Americans to two Olympic gold medals.
Saying "my stance hasn’t changed," Krzyzewski told ESPN Radio he expects USA Basketball to name a new coach this summer.
The Hall of Fame Duke coach said during and after last summer’s Olympics that he wasn’t planning to return to the position he’s held with the national team since 2005. However, he still hasn’t confirmed that decision with USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, who has said they will talk after the college season.
"I’ve loved, loved, loved, and it’s been an honor being with the USA Basketball team," Krzyzewski said in the interview. "And to coach the team and work with Jerry these seven years has been marvelous.
"And we’re in a good spot," Krzyzewski added. "We need to keep building."
Krzyzewski led the Americans to Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, and a world basketball championship in 2010. The Americans also won bronze in the 2006 worlds, their first tournament under his guidance, and haven’t lost a game since.
The Americans automatically qualified for the 2014 World Cup of Basketball in Spain by winning gold in London. Colangelo originally said he planned to name a new coach around the new year, but put off those plans so he could talk to Krzyzewski once the Blue Devils’ season was finished.
The delay created speculation Krzyzewski was open to a return, but he told ESPN Radio that USA Basketball wouldn’t make an announcement during the season, anyway.
If Krzyzewski is indeed finished, Colangelo will first have to determine if he wants to stay with a college coach or go back to someone from the NBA. Before Krzyzewski, the Americans had been led by someone from the pros since 1992, when NBA players were first allowed to play in the Olympics.
But after a bronze medal finish in 2004, two years after an embarrassing sixth-place performance in the worlds, Colangelo was given control of USA Basketball and hired Krzyzewski, who has been on the staff of 12 U.S. teams since 1979.
He got the Americans back on top with a thrilling victory over Spain in Beijing, then committed to return for another three-year stint the following year. The Americans’ victory in Istanbul in 2010 was their first world title since 1994, and they won even though none of the ‘08 gold medalists returned.
Krzyzewski has said he planned to remain close to Colangelo and the program even if he didn’t return. He was asked in the interview if the U.S. would have a different coach in 2016, when they try for a third straight Olympic gold medal.
"Yeah, and he’ll be great," Krzyzewski said, "and he’ll get all the support of all of us, and of me."
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