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Coach K says he is done, so who coaches in Rio in 2016?

Aug 13, 2012, 8:00 AM EDT

Popovich, Rivers Getty Images

Mike Krzyzewski says he is done.

He came in as USA Basketball restructured following the 2004 bronze medal in Athens, and he has coached two World Championships and two Olympics. USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo says he is going to try and talk Coach K into staying, but Kobe Bryant couldn’t talk him into coming to the Lakers — it’s not easy to change his mind. Krzyzewski is done.

So who gets to go to Rio in four years as coach?

Everyone asked says one name first: Gregg Popovich.

He has the gravitas needed for this job — he is above the basketball political fray and he is former Air Force, someone who is patriotic and would take the job seriously. He can get guys to show up to play for him and get them to accept roles they might not with their club teams (Popovich would tell the guys what they can do with their egos). He also has a system that is perfect for the international game (have you watched the Spurs?) He can handle the pressure. He is the ideal fit.

The problem is he was a really good fit back in 2006 as well and he really wanted the mob, but it was passed over for Krzyzewski. According to reports it wasn’t just losing out on the job but how that happened — Colangelo promised a meeting with Popovich that never happened, then seemed to suggest Popovich didn’t want the job as badly. He did. And he’s still angry about it.

Popovich is the best choice, but Colangelo needs to swallow some pride and have an honest sit down with Popovich.

If not him, the other front runner appears to be Doc Rivers, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Rivers also has the gravitas and respect of players to be able to come in and get players to fit a system. He was in London and could do some scouting up close of other world powers. He has been an assistant coach with Team USA before and he also would work well with the superstar expected to be at Rio in 2016 (the idea of a 23-and-under tournament is likely 2020, if even then).

Rivers tried to throw out Sixers coach and Olympic broadcaster Doug Collins, but he does not seem to be in consideration. Rick Pitino is reportedly trying to express interest in the job, but he is not really above the political fray of the game like Popovich and Rivers.

  1. eagles7to10 - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    It’s going to be Doug Collins. And that team will finally win the gold for him!

    • hodaghunter - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:38 PM

      Coaches do not get a gold medal in the olympics…

  2. dlhouse18 - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    I vote Popovich.

  3. quancao - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Definitely Doc. Players look up to him and he has the respect of other Coaches. Pop should also be invited.

  4. whitdog23 - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    really wanted “the mob”? editor failed again….just like all Florio articles

  5. icu84bs - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Pop is too old, too staid and too acerbic to be the Olympic coach. Love Pop’s (sarcastic) sense of humor however.

    Doc Rivers would be a better choice. Doc is more comfortable dealing with the media and is widely recognized as a ‘player’s coach’, important when dealing with today’s NBA players.

  6. ottomanismydog - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Not for the head coach, but I’d like to Jamie Dixon get a shot as an assistant.

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