Mike Krzyzewski, it turns out, has another Olympics in him after all.
Coach K will return as USA Basketball coach for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero and will coach the U.S. team in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, according to multiple reports. A press conference is scheduled for Thursday. Under the Duke coach, the U.S. men’s team has won gold in the last two Olympics.
Krzyzewski never seemed certain to give up the gig, although he indicated differently right after the London Games. All it took was a little time.
“He was already having some withdrawal symptoms,” Jerry Colangelo, president of USA Basketball, told USA Today on Monday. “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 as well as USA Basketball. That’s why I’ve given him all the time he needed.”
Krzyzewski’s return was first reported by SI.com’s Pete Thamel, who wrote about Krzyzewski’s impact on the program:
After USA Basketball’s disappointing and dysfunctional bronze-medal performance in the 2004 Olympics, Krzyzewski did more than lead the Americans back atop the medal stand. He and Colangelo have built a structure that encourages the best young players in the country to compete for spots on the national team. The humbling defeats showed the Americans that they could no longer just show up and beat the best teams in the world, so Krzyzewski and Colangelo transformed USA Basketball from a series of random cameos for some top stars into a well-organized, competitive system.
Krzyzewski will coach the first mini-camp for this Olympic cycle in late July in Las Vegas. Changes are expected to Krzyzewski’s staff, which included Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni and former Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan in London. Boeheim said on Saturday that it’s “probable” he’ll return to coach with Krzyzewski.