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Aug. 12, 2012
Compiled & Written by Jeff Fann for theACC.com
Mike Krzyzewski is a coaching legend. As head coach of the Duke Blue Devils, he has won four national titles, been to 11 Final Fours and has won 13 ACC Tournaments. He is the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history with 927 career victories and is the head coach of the 2012 USA Men’s Olympic Basketball team.
On Friday, Team USA downed Argentina, 109-83, to move within one game of its second consecutive gold medal. Mike Krzyzewski is looking to become the first coach since Henry Iba in 1964 and 1968 to win back to back Olympic Gold Medals. Krzyzewski’s accomplishments put him on the short list of the greatest basketball coaches of all time.
You may think coaching a team of NBA all-stars is a roll-out-the-ball-and-watch endeavor, but as recently as 2004, Team USA lost three games in an Olympics and struggled to win a bronze medal.
When Jerry Colangelo was named director of USA Basketball, his mission was to transform a culture of apathy and complacency that had set in on Team USA. Colangelo needed a team-first coach who would get the respect of the NBA’s best players.
In 2005 college basketball personality Dick Vitale wrote, “Colangelo should call on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.”
Colangelo did just that saying this about the legendary coach. “Mike Krzyzewski is the right man at the right time. His professional record speaks for itself. His loyalty and commitment to his country is more than self-evident, and his success as a leader of men is also a part of who he is.”
Kobe Bryant added his thoughts. “[Coach K] is everything I thought he would be and more. I have been excited and waiting for this opportunity for a long time. Playing for him now, you realize why he is such a great coach.”
With the close of this year’s Olympics still days away, Jerry Colangelo hasn’t given up on Coach K coaching Team USA in 2016. Following the 2008 Olympics, Colangelo secured Krzyzewski’s commitment to coach in 2012 over pizza and wine. "We'll have pizza and wine again," Colangelo said. "We'll see if it works a second time."
Colangelo is a smart man; he knows a winner when he sees one, and Mike Krzyzewki is certainly a winner.