Posted August 05, 2013

Why Mike Krzyzewski decided to return as USA Basketball coach

Ben Golliver, Mike Krzyzewski, USA Basketball
Mike Krzyzewski

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has a 62-1 record with USA Basketball. (Eric Gay/AP)

LAS VEGAS — After initially indicating that he would step down as coach of USA Basketball last summer, Mike Krzyzewski recommitted for another four-year cycle in May.

His return was motivated by his decision to remain at Duke for the foreseeable future. Krzyzewski said Monday that he was contemplating the possibility of retirement in recent years.

“At some time you’re going to stop coaching and a year or so ago I was thinking a little bit about that,” he said at Team USA’s minicamp. “I’m not thinking about that at all anymore and I haven’t been for a while. Maybe during the second half of the Louisville game in the Elite Eight, but other than that I’ve been thinking about going forward.”

Louisville defeated Duke 85-63 in the NCAA tournament, outscoring the Blue Devils 50-31 in the second half.

Philosophically, Krzyzewski didn’t believe that he should coach USA Basketball if he didn’t remain at Duke. It was both, or nothing.

“I’m 66. I wasn’t sure how long I was going to coach,” said Krzyzewski, who is 62-1 as Team USA coach, including gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. “[Now] I’m sure I’m going to coach for a while, through the [2016] Olympics. You shouldn’t be a retired coach coaching the national team. You should be an active coach. It’s too cutting-edge. You have to be on the firing line.”

Now that he’s back, he doesn’t expect any more waffling until he completes this term in 2016.

“That’s not a decision I ever revisit,” Krzyzewski said. “I’m honored, excited and happy.”

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo made it clear throughout the last 12 months that he wasn’t going to rush Krzyzewski out the door, even as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Clippers coach Doc River emerged as popular favorites to become Coach K’s successor.

“I always have plan Bs,” Colangelo said. “I knew when we finished in London [that] he was tired. And he had stated that he was done. I also know that two and a half weeks later in Springfield when we were there for the Hall of Fame inductions, I sensed that he was having withdrawal about not being involved. That said to me, Stay away, give him time. Let him do his thing this year at Duke. … When it was time, as it has been the case in the past, we usually work things out.”

7 comments
prisonmike
prisonmike

or maybe, just maybe, he has a blast coaching the best basketball players on the planet and could really care less about the accolades or the money....

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Strange the MONEY never was mentioned either

Scot4
Scot4

He wants to coach USA again because this guy has an ego the size of his nose!!

Redfish
Redfish

Pops the logical choice. The Spurs roster and their scouting of European players give him in-site into the international game that know one is American basketball has except mayby R.C. Buford. He knows who and how best to prepare USA players than anyone including Krzyzewski - (who wins on talent alone). Pop strives to make all the players under him just not better, but allow them to grow no matter how long they have played or who they are. Pop should have been the USA coach for quite a long time now.

prisonmike
prisonmike

@Redfish thats funny.."Coach K wins on talent alone"....he frequently has some of the slowest and whitest boys in D1 and yet his system continues to work...His "system", not just talent...