Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
It didn’t take long for USA Basketball to name a replacement for Mike Krzyzewski .
USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo officially announced that five-time NBA championship and longtime San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has been named head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team for the 2017-20 quadrennium.
Additionally, USA Basketball announced that Colangelo will continue in 2017-20 as Managing Director of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team and that Krzyzewski will move into a special advisor role with Colangelo and the USA National Team for 2017-20. USA Basketball’s Board of Directors approved the three selections.
As head coach, Popovich will coach the USA National Team over the course of the 2017-20 quad, which could possibly include all USA Men’s National Team training camps, and if the USA qualifies, the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China (dates TBD) and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games (July 24-Aug. 9) in Tokyo, Japan.
“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.”
The USA National Team currently owns a 63-game winning streak that dates back to 2006 and includes 45 consecutive victories in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions and 18 consecutive exhibition wins. 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.
“I’m absolutely delighted to announce Gregg Popovich as head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team for 2017-20. 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. By making this decision now, it will allow us to have a clean, efficient and immediate transition following the 2016 Olympic Games,” said Colangelo, who has served as the Managing Director of USA Basketball Men’s National Team program since 2005 and has seen those teams compile a 75-1 record.
“Obviously this is an incredibly exciting step for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team program as we will transition following the 2016 Rio Olympics from one of the game’s greatest coaches in Mike Krzyzewski to another of basketball’s greatest coaches in Gregg Popovich. This progression plan will also help ensure that our National Team will continue to build on the culture and success we have achieved since launching the program.
“The USA Basketball Men’s National Team since 2005 has accomplished a number of remarkable things. We have established the United States as the world’s number one basketball country, and done so by showing the utmost respect for the sport and for all nations and players. Our players have been dedicated and committed to our gold medal standards and are positive ambassadors for the sport and for the United States. I’m confident that this will continue to be the case with Coach Popovich as our head coach.
“The 2017-20 quadrennium will be challenging with FIBA’s announced changes to its competition schedule and the new qualifying process for the World Cup and Olympics. With FIBA moving the FIBA World Cup to 2019, a year later than when it has been held in the past, we will need to reorganize how we prepare for our international competitions.
“Lastly, I am excited and looking forward to continuing to lead the USA National Team program in 2017-20 and along with everyone associated with USA Basketball, we are excited that Coach K has agreed to stay on as a special advisor for 2017-20. There’s no question that we will benefit from his vision and his experiences with USA Basketball and in international basketball.”
Since 2006, USA National Teams have compiled a spectacular 75-1 record and claimed top honors in five of six FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. Just as importantly as the USA National Team’s success on the court, the duo also reestablished the USA National Team and its members as positive ambassadors for the United States and the sport.
“I am honored, and thrilled, to continue with USA Basketball in the role of special advisor. Since Jerry Colangelo invited me to play a larger part in the USA Basketball program in 2005, this experience has been so rewarding professionally and personally,” said Krzyzewski. “Some of the most exhilarating moments in my coaching career have occurred because of that association, so I am humbled to continue the affiliation with USA Basketball in this capacity. Until then, we have significant work to do to properly prepare our team for the challenges we’ll face in Rio at the 2016 Olympics.
“Gregg Popovich is the ideal choice to take over as head coach of the USA program. His long track record of success – both in terms of winning championships and creating a culture of excellence – are well documented and, rightfully so, he is considered among the very best coaches in the world. Because of his military background in which he selflessly served his country, coupled with his unique ability to bring out the best in his teams, this leadership appointment makes perfect sense. Undeniably, he will incorporate the highest of standards, which are unique to him, that will only enhance the USA Basketball program. I look forward to working with and learning from Gregg and Jerry Colangelo as they lead Team USA into the future.”
Photo: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.