Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski is expected to be named head coach of the 2008 U.S. men's Olympic team and 2006 world championship team, officially kicking off an overhaul of a program that failed to meet expectations at last year's Olympics and the 2002 world championship, two people with knowledge of the plans said yesterday.
Krzyzewski, 58, will become the first college coach to lead a world championship or Olympic men's team since NBA players began participating in the Olympics in 1992. Krzyzewski, who has won three national titles in 25 years at Duke, has not been asked to leave his current job. Final details of his deal are still being ironed out, a source said.
The decision to turn to Krzyzewski, who was an assistant to Chuck Daly on the gold-medal winning team at the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, represents the first major move by Jerry Colangelo, who was named managing director of USA Basketball's senior men's national team program earlier this year. Krzyzewski's expected hiring was first reported in yesterday's editions of USA Today.
Colangelo, the chief executive of the Phoenix Suns, declined to confirm that a deal with Krzyzewski was in place during a phone interview, but said "he would be a terrific choice for a lot of reasons" and "he's right there at the top of the list." Colangelo said he planned to introduce a new coach during the Oct. 24-26 NBA Board of Governors meetings in New York.
Colangelo declared Krzyzewski a leading candidate at the start of his search back in April, and Krzyzewski then publicly stated his interest in leading the team. USA Basketball President Val Ackerman said the organization's executive committee voted this summer to change an internal rule that required that an NBA coach lead the U.S. men's team.
Colangelo said he hoped a full coaching staff would be in place by mid-November, and that a USA men's senior national team player pool would be assembled by the end of the year.
Ackerman said the organization wants talented young NBA players committed to USA Basketball for all major international competitions for the next three years. The selection of the 2004 team was hampered by many players declining invitations or pulling out because of injuries, and the U.S. finished third in Athens. At the 2002 world championship in Indianapolis, a hastily assembled U.S. team finished what was considered a stunning sixth.
"We realize the gravity of the situation," Ackerman said. "Everybody concerned wants to see the U.S. back on top and nothing less will do."
Krzyzewski is expected lead Team USA at next summer's world championship in Japan. If the United States wins, it will automatically qualify for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. If it loses, it will have to compete in a qualifying tournament in 2007.