After seven years and two Olympic gold medals, Mike Krzyzewski has decided to step down as the head coach of the USA men’s basketball team.
Krzyzewski was hired by USA basketball president Jerry Colangelo in 2006 after a disappointing performance at the 2004 Olympics that landed Team USA the bronze medal.
Krzyzewski wanted to return to the winning tradition of USA basketball and he did just that, taking the “Redeem Team” to a gold medal win over Spain in Beijing in 2008. Four years later he led the team to a repeat performance in London.
It must have been a tough decision for Coach K to walk away, and he didn’t list any specific reason why he’s stepping down, but he has clearly enjoyed the experience.
'I've loved, loved, loved, and it's been an honor being with the USA Basketball team,' Krzyzewski said. 'And to coach the team and work with [Colangelo] for seven years has been marvelous. And we're in a good spot. We need to keep building.'
We probably will not find out who will replace Krzyzewski until this summer, when the team will start preparing for the 2014 World Championship in Madrid.
The two big names that were tossed around before Coach K stepped down were Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers. Obviously, either of these coaches have the resume to deserve the job. It will probably come down to who Colangelo and Team USA think would make the best fit. Also, I do not know if either of them has officially said they want the job.
Whoever replaces Coach K, they will have some big shoes to fill. Krzyzewski brought USA basketball back to the juggernaut that it once was after several years of floundering. I have no doubt that they will continue to thrive as long as they have players like LeBron James ready to step in to lead the team, but they still need a great coach at the helm to control all those giant egos.