DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is back as the U.S. men’s national team coach and ready for another run at Olympic gold.
During a news conference at Duke on Thursday, Krzyzewski called it the “ultimate honor” to represent his country.
“I really thought I wasn’t going to do it,” Krzyzewski said. “But now that I am doing it, I can tell you I am doing it with 100 percent commitment and passion — but with seven years of experience of having done it before.”
Krzyzewski, 66, took over as coach as USA Basketball began its national-team program in 2005. Since then, Krzyzewski has led the U.S. men’s team to Olympic gold medals in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. He also led the Americans to the gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
The U.S. men’s national team has a 50-game winning streak dating back to 2006.
Krzyzewski had said several times that London would be the final stop of his international coaching career. But USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo wanted to wait on any discussion until after Krzyzewski finished his season with Duke.
His patience paid off, prompting Colangelo — speaking by teleconference — to say he was happy to continue what had been “a heck of a ride and a great journey.”
“I’m kind of old-fashioned, I never really accepted the fact he wasn’t coming back,” Colangelo said. “I felt time would be what he needed in terms of a tonic to … weigh the positives and whatever negatives there may be. I just think it’s a perfect fit for him.
“I think his legacy is very much tied to USA Basketball as it is certainly is to Duke University. I could not have picked a better guy to be in that foxhole with than Coach K.”
Krzyzewski’s commitment to coach the team from 2013-16 means he will be on the bench for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain as well as the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
With Krzyzewski in charge, the Americans — teams filled with NBA stars — are 62-1 over the last seven years.
“I got better doing it,” Krzyzewski said of his time as U.S. coach. “Just like a player gets better from doing it, we all got better. And that energizes you because it’s like a teacher learning new material. I’m 66. I don’t know how you’re supposed to feel at 66. I never think of my age. … But I feel energetic, passionate, wanting to achieve.”
Krzyzewski has 957 career victories, most coming with the Blue Devils, and ranks as the winningest coach in Division I men’s basketball history to go with four NCAA championships. Last year, Duke notched its 13th 30-win season before falling to eventual champion Louisville in the NCAA tournament’s regional finals.
Current and former Duke players Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Andre Dawkins attended the news conference, along with Krzyzewski’s assistant coaches with the Blue Devils.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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