Published August 13, 2012
With a second consecutive gold medal, Coach Mike Krzyzewski's time as the head coach of USA Basketball is finished. He leaves only having lost once -- the semifinals of the 2006 World Championships -- in 63 tries, becoming the first coach since Henry Iba to coach Team USA to two Olympic golds in 1964 and 1968.
Coach K was offered the job of head coach of the men's senior team in 2005. While other international squads had long-term coaches, the United States had a policy of swapping in whoever won the NBA Championship in June to take the coaching reins of a hastily assembled team in August. Jerry Colangelo changed that process after the team's 2004 bronze medal performance that saw a Larry Brown-coached Team USA drop two games in the preliminary round for the first time ever, then lose in the semifinals to Argentina.
Colangelo appointed Krzyzewski -- who in addition to being one of the winningest college basketball coaches of all time, is a West Point graduate -- to the job. It didn't pay immediate dividends, as the United States lost to a Greek team of inferior talent the next summer at the World Championships at Japan. But Krzyzewski began to stress multi-year commitments to players -- if you want to play in the Olympics, you'll need to also play in World Championships and other events -- breeding familiarity and commitment to the program. Krzyzewski coached team USA to victories in the next four tournaments his squad participated in: the 2007 Tournament of the Americas -a qualifier for the Beijing Games -- the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 World Championships, and now, the 2012 London Games. His team won the last 53 games it played.
Krzyzewski will now have more of an offseason from his full-time job at Duke. Colangelo will likely turn to another long-term coach to take the job, although it's unclear who is on the short list for the position, or even whether he will choose to take someone from the collegiate ranks or the pros.