Three weeks ago we learned that Team USA was still heavily pursuing coach Mike Krzyzewski to return for the 2014 World Championships in Madrid and possibly the 2016 Olympics, but Krzyzewski was leaning towards not coming back at the time. And even after some deliberating, Coach K did not change his mind, as he made the official decision this week that he will not return to coach Team USA at next year’s World Championships.
According to ESPN.com, he made the announcement on Tuesday during an interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning.”
“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 [chairman and president Jerry Colangelo] for seven years has been marvelous.”
Krzyzewski originally stated that he would make his final decision regarding Team USA at the end of the NCAA season, but with his focus solely on coaching Duke – who is currently ranked 3rd in the country – for the time being, he ultimately concluded that it was time to step away from international basketball.
Although this announcement does not mean Krzyzewski is officially retiring from coaching international basketball, Team USA fans will likely be disappointed by the news. Krzyewski is credited by most for reviving USA Basketball after its underwhelming bronze medal finish at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Since being hired in 2005, Coach K guided Team USA to a near-perfect 62-1 record in international competition and two gold medals (2008, 2012).
The team has previously stated that Doug Collins, Doc Rivers, Greg Popovich and Tom Izzo are among the top candidates to replace Krzyzewski, but it will likely wait to make a decision until this summer.