Krzyzewski: USA Basketball 'the ultimate honor'
Posted May 23, 2013
When USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo heard that Mike Krzyzewski would not return to Team USA following the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, he swore he would take the Duke head coach out for “pizza and wine” to convince him to come back. Turns out, all he needed was room service chicken fingers with the legendary coach and a one-on-one meal with Krzyzewski’s wife Mickie.
“You had me pretty cheap,” Krzyzewski joked with Colangelo during a re-introductory press conference Thursday morning at Duke University.
But when things became serious, the Army graduate Krzyzewski called the gig "the ultimate honor” and said that being a part of the national team is about “service”.
“USA Basketball is the body that brings everyone together and we have to make sure it's done the right way,” Krzyzewski said. “For the next four years, I'll think about USA Basketball every day, but not in place of Duke."
Krzyzewski has led the national team to three consecutive world event gold medals – the 2010 FIBA World Championships and the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He has been a part of USA Basketball since the late 1970s, earning eight gold medals, two silvers and a pair of bronzes in more than a dozen international events.
"We'll try to build it with the best players available. They are the ones who make an amazing commitment,” Krzyzewski said, adding that he is hoping LeBron James will again make the commitment to play in the Rio Games in 2016. “We have the best talent. We have to make sure we do all the things necessary to become the best team."
Colangelo insisted that he was confident of Krzyzewski’s return to Team USA saying, “I never accepted that he wasn't coming back." He added, “I think it's a perfect fit for him. His legacy is tied to USA Basketball, as it is with Duke University."
Krzyzweski countered that when he said he wasn’t going to return following the London Games, he was serious. What changed his mind was the support from his family.
"The first two times Jerry asked me, I said I would do it and faked it with my family to make them think they were a part of the decision," Krzyzewski confessed. "This time we involved everybody that should have been involved. That's why I feel very good about the decision."
Many of Krzyzewski’s colleagues took to social media in support of his decision.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari said on Twitter, “Congrats and thank you to Mike Krzyzewski for continuing to lead USA basketball. It's a lot of work & sacrifice. Great leadership continues!
Longtime assistand Chris Collins added, “So Excited to see Coach K back for another run with @usabasketball!! No one has a greater passion for the job!! We are lucky to have him!!”
Krzyzewski noted during Thursday’s press conference, "I don't think anybody should coach the team (USA) unless they are coaching. You have to stay sharp." He then slipped, “I didn't know I got a contract extension today from Dr. (Richard) Brodhead."
As far as filling the Team USA roster, Krzyzewski said that his main effort is to “replenish the pool of players” and that camp will start this summer. As far as filling the staff, Krzyzewski said that Syracuse assistant Jim Boeheim, who has assisted him since 2006, will again get a call. So too will Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins.