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San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich named Head Coach of USA Basketball till 2020

Yash Matange
537   //    24 Oct 2015, 10:05 IST
Coach Pop is one of the most respected and accomplished Coaches in the NBA.

Is there a better Head Coach in the NBA than Gregg Popovich?

USA Basketball announced on Friday that current San Antonio Spurs’ Head Coach Popovich will serve as the Head Coach of the National Basketball team from the 2017 training camp.

His contract includes leading the national team in the 2019 FIBA World Cup and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, if the team qualifies. His appointment comes following the Mike Krzyzewski’s announcement that the Rio Olympics will be his last tournament as the Head Coach of USA Basketball.

Krzyzewski or “Coach K” as he is affectionately called, took over the USA Basketball program when it was probably at its lowest in 2005. Despite their talent, the USA national team were coming off two back to back disappointing tournaments: a sixth place finish at the FIBA World Championships in 2002 and a broze medal finish at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Since then what Krzyzewski has accomplished with the team is remarkable to say the least.

He has won two Gold Medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics, both times defeating the Spanish natinoal team in the Final. He led the team to two FIBA World titles: 2010 in Turkey and 2014 in Spain. Under him the team has registered an incredible 75-1 record including an ongoing 63 game win streak that dates back to 2006.

Along with his national duties as Head Coach of USA Basketball, Krzyzewski has been the Head Coach of the Duke University Basketball programme since 1980, leading the college to 5 NCAA title including the 2015 trophy.He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. 

Speaking about his successor after the 2016 Olympics, Coach K said this: ”I think it would be good if somebody had experience in international basketball.”

Popovich certainly fits that category and has a lot more to show on his resume other than his greatest achievement of 5 NBA Championships with the San Antonio Spurs. He was an assistant Coach on the USA Basketball Coaching Staff from 2002 to 2004 assisting George Karl. Pop has been named NBA Coach of the Year three times in his career, the most among current NBA Head Coaches and tied with Hall of Famers Pat Riley and Don Nelson for most ever.

After Krzyzewski steps down next year, USA Basketball announced that he will become a special advisor to Jerry Colangelo, who will continue as the Managing Director of the USA National Basketball team through 2017 up until 2020.