It would be pretty obvious to say that USA basketball has been in great hands over the last ten years, with Jerry Colangelo at the helm as Chairman and Mike Krzyzewski as head coach. The Team USA program will continue to be held in high regard as Friday afternoon Chairman of USA basketball, Jerry Colangelo, revealed that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will succeed Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) as head coach of the program after the 2016 Olympics.
If Team USA didn’t already have the best coach on the planet in Coach K, than they surely have him now in Gregg Popovich. Finding someone more qualified for the job would be nearly impossible. Having won 5 championships with the Spurs over the last 15 years, Popovich may actually be overqualified for the job. But with all jokes aside, Team USA and Gregg Popovich are a perfect fit.
When it comes time to transitioning from Coach K to Pop, things are expected to go smoothly. The two coaches are very similar in coaching philosophy, ideals, and overall team culture, along with both being highly respected people in the basketball world.
Now, just because Krzyzewski is stepping down as coach doesn’t mean he’s completely leaving the program. Krzyzewski expects to serve in a special advisory role, of which the details are still to be released.
Keeping Krzyzewski around the program is an enormous advantage for Team USA because he’s been through it all, whether it’s winning gold medals in the Olympics and FIBA world championships, or coming up just a little short in those tournaments. Of course there can never be too many brilliant basketball minds in one room, working for one team.
Coach K had nothing but positive things to say about Popovich and the future of the USA Basketball program,
“Gregg Popovich is the ideal choice to take over as head coach of the USA program. His long track record of success – both in terms of winning championships and creating a culture of excellence – are well documented and, rightfully so, he is considered among the very best coaches in the world. Because of his military background in which he selflessly served his country, coupled with his unique ability to bring out the best in his teams, this leadership appointment makes perfect sense. Undeniably, he will incorporate the highest of standards, which are unique to him, that will only enhance the USA Basketball program. I look forward to working with and learning from Gregg and Jerry Colangelo as they lead Team USA into the future.”
As for Coach Popovich, the opportunity to coach the USA National team comes as a complete honor, saying, “I’m extremely humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent our country as the coach of the USA National Team.”
Knowing the kind of success the program has enjoyed over the past decade, and the footsteps he has to fill, Popovich says,
“What the program has accomplished over the last decade under the leadership of Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski is truly impressive. I will do my utmost to maintain the high standards of success, class and character established by Jerry, Coach K and the many players who have sacrificed their time on behalf of USA basketball.”
Whether it’s Coach K or Gregg Popovich on the sidelines calling the shots, Team USA will continue their dominance, which currently includes a 65 game win streak.
As for the upcoming 2016 Olympics, there are 34 eligible players that have a chance to make the team, and bring home yet another gold medal. Popovich’s time will come, but for the time being it’s still Krzyzewski who has an opportunity to put that highly regarded gold medal around his neck in 2016, like he has in earlier years.
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