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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Krzyzewski Will Coach Olympic Basketball

NEW YORK - Mike Krzyzewski will be the coach in charge of bringing Olympic gold back to U.S. basketball.

Two weeks after it was widely reported, USA Basketball on Wednesday made Krzyzewski the coach of the U.S. national team at next year's World Championships and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The man who led Duke to three national championships will be the first college coach to lead the national team since NBA players started playing in the Olympics in 1992.

The United States' "Dream Team" won gold in Barcelona under Chuck Daly and teams with NBA players repeated the feat in 1996 under Lenny Wilkens and 2000 under Rudy Tomjanovich.

But the U.S. team finished sixth in the 2002 World Championships under George Karl and took the bronze medal in Athens last year with Larry Brown coaching.

USA Basketball wasn't happy about off-the-court issues as well, with the attitude, appearance and commitment of players always topics of discussion.

"This is going to be a matter of collective responsibility," Krzyzewski said. "We will win and lose together and we will put together a team that represents our country the best it can _ on and off the court."

Jerry Colangelo was placed in charge as the senior men's national team managing director and when it came time to select a coach, his group looked to Krzyzewski.

"When it came time to make the decision of who would be sitting right next to me, it was obvious," Colangelo said. "This is going to be a three-year commitment and I will talk one-on-one with every player before any invitations are extended."

Krzyzewski served as an assistant to Daly in 1992, and he was the head coach in the 1990 World Championships when a team of college players finished third.

Despite having had a number of his Duke players go on to the NBA, his credibility with the pros got quite a boost in 2004 when he was courted by the Los Angeles Lakers, with the blessing of Kobe Bryant, to take over that franchise.

Among the NBA coaches who were considered for the position were Gregg Popovich of San Antonio and Pat Riley of Miami.

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