There was a lot of speculation that after the 2012 London Olympics, that would be it for Mike Krzyzewski as Team USA head coach. Coach K would go back to “just” coaching Duke and let someone else take over the international big chair, he’d done his share, put up with enough egos.
Except he decided to stay on for four more years. Krzyzewski will coach Team USA in Rio next August for the 2016 Olympics.
But that’s it, suggests USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo, speaking to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
Colangelo: This time I know it’s done. I’m already working on the future. But my focus is on ’16. I have so much time on my hands that I’m already working on it.
Q: Do you already have a next coach in mind?
Colangelo: I always have a guy already in my head. Always did and always will.
It takes a special guy to coach Team USA, someone rises above the agent/shoe politics that can dominate the organization and selection process. Coach K has been able do that, as his 75-1 record overall (52-1 in official FIBA events) record indicates. The elite of the game want to play for him, he knows how to recruit.
Who could step into his shoes and rise above like that?
The two leading candidates are considered to be Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers.
Popovich, a former Air Force man, makes the most sense. He is fully capable of rising above the politics, but he also has a poor history with Colangelo. Can the two men get past that to forge a deal? If not, keep an eye on Rivers (who gets along with most players).
After Coach K, they have some massive shoes to fill.