With Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (finally) stepping down as head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team following the 2016 Summer Olympics, USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo needed a replacement. His choice? How about five-time NBA champion Gregg Popovich.
USA Basketball announced the San Antonio Spurs coach as the "head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team for the 2017-20 quadrennium" on Friday.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we have the great fortune of bringing on board one of the NBA’s best and most successful coaches ever to lead the USA National Team for the 2017-20 quadrennium," Colangelo said. "By making this decision now, it will allow us to have a clean, efficient and immediate transition following the 2016 Olympic Games."
Barring the unforeseen -- as in the team not qualifying -- Popovich will coach the USA National Team during the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan along with various training camps and exhibition games.
“I’m extremely humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent our country as the coach of the USA National Team,” said Popovich, a 1970 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. “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.”
Dating back to 2006, the USA National Team has won 63 straight games, including 45 consecutive victories in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions. The USA men have won back-to-back Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) and back-to-back FIBA World Cup gold medals (2010 and 2014) for the first time ever. Krzyzewski will coach Team USA during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
If nothing else, international basketball interviews are about to become a whole lot more interesting.