LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mike Krzyzewski will continue as head coach of the U.S. men’s basketball team that will try to defend their Beijing gold medal at the 2012 London Games, officials announced in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Krzyzewski, the Duke University coach affectionately known as Coach K, will bring back his staff of assistants that helped steer a U.S. team led by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to 2008 gold after a bronze-medal at the Athens Olympics.
“It’s obviously a huge honor for me to continue on as United States national coach,” Krzyzewski told a news conference. “We want to win another Olympic gold medal and we want to win the 2010 world championship in Turkey.”
The appointment was announced by USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.
“There’s one gold medal up there and we’re going to keep fighting the battle,” Colangelo said. “We don’t have term limits in USA Basketball, and when you have a great thing going, you keep it going.”
Joining Krzyzewski on the sidelines again will be Jim Boeheim (Syracuse University), Mike D‘Antoni (New York Knicks) and Nate McMillan (Portland Trail Blazers).
Krzyzewski said that while the mission was accomplished in his first term as head coach, there was more work to do.
”Our goal in 2008 in Beijing was to win the gold medal, win the respect of our country and win the respect of the world, as far as USA basketball is concerned,“ Krzyzewski said. ”All three of those things have been accomplished.
“The gold medal you can put away. You don’t put away your relationship with your country or with the world, it’s ongoing.”
“We all felt as a staff that the work wasn’t over. To be quite frank, the work will never be over for USA basketball.”
The only disappointment for the U.S. team of NBA champions was their semi-final loss to Greece at the 2006 world championship in Japan, where the United States took bronze.
“Our goal this time is to make it even better,” he said. “We need to put great emphasis on winning the gold at Turkey next summer in the world championship.”
Krzyzewski said maintaining team spirit was a key to success.
“We want to make it a family. I know that the guys that played for us in Beijing, they became part of our family. Why wouldn’t you want to do it again, if you’re doing stuff with your family. That’s the atmosphere we’re trying to develop.”
Writing by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris/Ian Ransom