LONDON Mike Krzyzewskis last game as U.S. coach will be for an Olympic gold medal.
As the American mens team prepared to play Spain for the Olympic title, Krzyzewski told The Associated Press the game will be his final one as national coach, a position he has held for seven years.
Krzyzewski had left open the possibility of staying with the team beyond the London Games, but before practice Saturday he said these will be his last Olympics.
When asked if he was sure, Krzyzewski didnt hesitate before again saying, Yes, this will be his last game.
Krzyzewski, who has led Duke to four NCAA championships, took over the U.S. team in 2005. In the last seven years, he has restored the powerful American program, which was in disarray after a third-place finish at the 2004 Athens Games.
However, led by Krzyzewski, the U.S. got redemption and a gold medal four years ago in China, won the world championships in 2010 and can win gold again by beating Spain.
If we can win it, then it would be three major championships in a row, which I dont know when thats been done because we havent usually won the world championships, Krzyzewski said. It would be a huge thing for our program.
Although he wont take credit, Krzyzewskis impact on the U.S. program has been immense.
It goes beyond what has happened on the floor, said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, who hired Krzyzewski to run the U.S. team. Hes been so important to me in everything weve done in building the infrastructure and philosophy and standards all of it. His legacy goes beyond the record on the court. Were 52-1, I guess since this all began, and hopefully well be 53-1 after (Sunday). Thats a legacy in itself.
Colangelo was asked if can persuade Krzyzewski to remain as coach.
Chances are not, he said. But well have to have that conversation on an official basis. Hes said this is it, and Ill respect his choice. But knowing me as I know me, Ill have that conversation, and well see.
With a win Sunday, Krzyzewski would join Henry Iba (1964, 1968) as the only U.S. coach to lead the Americans to gold medals in consecutive Olympics.