USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo wants to secure the future of the USA Basketball Men's National Team today by appointing five-time NBA championship and longtime San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to replace Mike Krzyzewski as coach of the men's national team in 2017.
"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."
Popovich will have a big shoe to fill. Krzyzewski is a basketball coach Hall of Famer and has led the U.S. men's basketball team to two Olympic championships at the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Games and a 36-1 record in international competition since taking over in 2006. Krzyzewski will guide the Team USA for the last time in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. However, he will remain with the USA Basketball as a special adviser.
The USA National Team also holds 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.
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 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.
He said that the appointment of Popovich is an "exciting step for the USA Basketball Men's National Team program" as they plan to transition following the 2016 Rio Olympics from one of the game's greatest coaches in Krzyzewski to another of basketball's greatest coaches in Popovich. This progression will also help ensure that the national team will continue to build on the culture and success the team has achieved since launching the program.
Colangelo added, "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."