Current San Antonio Spurs boss Gregg Popovich will take over from Mike Krzyzewski as head coach of the United States men’s team after next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, it has been announced.
Popovich has been in charge of the National Basketball Association (NBA) side since 1996 and is one of the most respected figures in the game.
Krzyzewski guided the United States to Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008 before they defended their title at London 2012 and has lost just one game since taking over in 2006, a 101-95 defeat at the hands of Greece in the semi-finals of the 2006 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup.
He has taken the decision to step down to pursue a different career within the sport and will transition into his new role as a special advisor to USA Basketball following Rio 2016.
Popovich admitted he thought his chances of becoming head coach had gone, insisting he believed “that ship had sailed”.
“I look forward to maintaining and honouring the standards that have been set by Jerry Colangelo, Mike Krzyzewski and all the players who have sacrificed over that decade,” Popovich, who has led the Spurs to five NBA titles in his tenure as coach, said.
“Dozens of players have decided to be a part of that culture and I take that responsibility very seriously and look forward to doing whatever I can to maintain it and keep it going.”
The Americans have dominated the world basketball scene in recent years having also won the 2010 World Championships and 2014 World Cup.
They look well-placed to secure a third straight Olympic gold at Rio 2016.
“There really wasn’t a list of people to talk with,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said of the appointment.
“He was the man that I wanted to take over when Krzyzewski finishes his tenure in Rio at the Olympics in 2016 and after having met with him this summer and given him time to think it through, that he was really willing to accept that opportunity, I could not have been more pleased.
“He represents everything that USA Basketball is all about.”
Liam Morgan, this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz