Mike Krzyzewski was right Olympic coach at right time for USA Basketball

Mike Krzyzewski never thought he would have the opportunity to coach the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team once NBA players were allowed to play.

“In my mind and I think in every college coach’s’ mind, it should be an NBA coach,” Krzyzewski said. “Chuck Daly and P.J. Carlesimo gave me an opportunity to be an assistant. I thought that was the crown jewel I would have.”

But the U.S. men faltered, losing to Argentina in the semifinals of the 2004 Athens Olympics and finishing with a bronze medal, the first time U.S. hadn’t won gold since the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The U.S. also failed to medal at the 2002 FIBA World Cup.

Apathy set in. Culture, leadership and pride in country were needed.

After a search that included a 20-plus-member committee, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo in 2005 asked Krzyzewski to coach the team.

“It was not a hard decision to make because that’s the ultimate honor,” Krzyzewski said. “Did I expect to be asked? No, I did not. And I’m OK if I wasn’t asked. As long as we’re winning, whatever USA Basketball thinks is right, you go along with it. When I was asked, I wanted to do it and I wanted to do it the very best.”

Krzyzewski had just turned down an offer to coach the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2004 when the opportunity to coach the U.S. emerged.

“That was a gift,” he said. “Obviously, I opened the package and wanted it.”

For love of country and love of coaching, he was the right coach at the right time: West Point man and championship coach at Duke.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/rio-2016/2016/08/18/mike-krzyzewski-usa-basketball-coach-gold-medals-beijing-london-rio/88967388/

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