Thu, Jul 23, 2009 - Page 19 News List

‘Coach K’ to return as US chief for 2012 Olympics

AFP , LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Mike Krzyzewski, who guided the US Olympic basketball team to gold in Beijing, will return to coach the squad of NBA stars through the 2012 London Olympics, USA Basketball announced on Tuesday.

The US team, powered by NBA superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and guided by the veteran coach at Duke University, went 36-1 in a three-year run that culminated with Beijing Olympic gold.

Krzyzewski will bring back his entire staff of assistants from Beijing — New York coach Mike D’Antoni, Portland coach Nate McMillan and Syracuse University coach Jim Boeheim — for the next run at Olympic supremacy.

“Coach K and the assistant coaches were a perfect fit. I’m confident they will again be a great fit for 2010-2012,” NBA Player of the Year James said.

Krzyzewski first will guide the US squad at the World Basketball Championships next year in Istanbul, Turkey. Unless they capture the world title and the 2012 London Olympic berth awarded to the champion, “Coach K” will be called upon to guide the US team into the Olympic qualifying Tournament of the Americas in 2011.

Assuming the NBA stars qualify for the 2012 Olympics, it will be Krzyzewski and his staff who guide their efforts on the court in London in three years.

USA Basketball opens a training camp today with 23 younger players, replenishing the talent pool in a program created by Krzyzewski and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.

“When you have a good thing going you don’t mess with it,” Colangelo said. “We accomplished a great deal last quadrennium and we want to keep the ball rolling in the right direction.”

The US Olympic team revamp, bringing together pools of talent to work together for years rather than assemble just ahead of an Olympics, came after a disappointing third-place US effort at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Krzyzewski is 833-274 in 34 years as a US college coach, including 29 legendary seasons at Duke that saw the Blue Devils take three US collegiate national crowns.

“I’m sure those outside the United States are disappointed,” US veteran Deron Williams said. “Coach K is the King.”

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