Current USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced earlier this week that he’ll be stepping down from his post after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo has moved quickly in selecting a replacement, announcing Friday that longtime San Antonio Spurs headmaster Gregg Popovich will take over the job for the 2017-20 quadrennium.
Colangelo will continue as managing director through that time period, and Krzyzewski will serve in a special advisor role. That four-year time frame will include the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The choice of Popovich is a natural one given his NBA success and stature around the league. He’s been considered the best coach in the league for quite some time, and he should do a fine job managing the immense talent on Team USA.
Popovich has been coach of the Spurs since the 1996-97 season. San Antonio has won at least 50 games in 16 straight seasons, and it almost certainly would’ve been 18 straight seasons if not for the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season (the Spurs went 37-13). The Spurs have won five NBA titles under the watch of Popovich, and now he’ll look to add some gold medals to his collection.