Mike Krzyzewski has decided to remain as coach of the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.
Krzyzewski was expected to step down, but instead he will try to lead the Americans to a third consecutive gold medal, Duke University confirmed to ESPN.com on Wednesday. USA Basketball has scheduled a news conference at 10:40 a.m. ET Thursday at Duke.
The Hall of Fame coach has led the Americans since 2005, winning gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and at the 2010 FIBA World Championship. His return was first reported by Sports Illustrated.
“I think it’s great,” said two-time gold medalistLeBron James, when told of the news Wednesday night before the Miami Heat faced Indiana. “What he means to USA Basketball is beyond just what we do on the court. It’s what we stand for as Americans and being proud of the red, white and blue every time we step off the bus or practice or talk to the media or whatever the case may be. I think it’s great.”
Krzyzewski repeatedly said he planned to end his international coaching career after the Americans’ victory last summer in London. Yet USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo preferred to hold off any discussion until after Coach K finished his season with the Blue Devils, and he got the answer he wanted.
The 66-year-old Krzyzewski will lead the Americans next summer at the renamed World Cup of Basketball in Spain, where a victory would qualify them for the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil. They are 62-1 over the past seven years.
Krzyzewski’s return could help land commitments from some of the top NBA stars who have enjoyed playing in the program he and Colangelo revamped in 2005. James, Kobe Bryant,Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony are among the All-Stars who have won multiple gold medals under Krzyzewski.
“I’ve got the utmost respect and trust in Coach K,” James said. “And whatever his decision was going to be, I think we all would support that.”
James has said he would like to be there in 2016, as well.
“It would be great,” James said. “First, I’ve got to make sure I stay healthy. If I’m fortunate enough to be healthy, I would love to represent my country again, but that’s a long time from now. So we’ll see.”