Krzyzewski shares coach of year with Auriemma
For the fifth time in the past seven years, USA Basketball considers Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski the top basketball coach in the country.
On Wednesday, USA Basketball announced that Krzyzewski and Connecticut women’s coach Geno Auriemma were the co-winners of the organization’s national coach of the year award.
Both Krzyzewski and Auriemma coached the respective USA men’s and women’s national teams to gold medals at the London Olympics in the summer.
The two men also shared the award in 2010 after the Americans won gold in both the men’s and women’s world basketball championships.
Krzyzewski won the award outright in 2006 and shared it with Anne Donovan in 2007 and 2008.
“Well first of all, (this award means) continuity,” Krzyzewski said. “In other words, in order to have an opportunity to keep winning them means you had great teams that accomplished.
“For any coaching award, it’s what the players have done. It’s LeBron James and Kobe (Bryant) and Kevin Durant and all of those guys coming through. I’ve been a lucky guy to be a part of it for seven years, and in five of the years, there was some kind of competition.”
Krzyzewski guided the U.S. men to a second straight gold this past summer, following up on the Olympic gold the U.S. won in 2008 in Beijing.
Auriemma led the U.S. women to their fifth straight Olympic gold medal, most ever in a traditional women’s team sport.
Both coaches have said they don’t expect to return.
“The opportunity to coach the Olympic Team is an amazing opportunity that you are very fortunate to have, and all you want to do is a great job while putting the players in a position to be successful,” Auriemma said. “I thought our entire coaching staff — Doug Bruno, Marynell Meadors, Jen Gillom — and everyone associated with our team from Carol Callan on down, were outstanding. We got all the resources and support that we needed, and I think I owe a debt of gratitude to all of them, along with Jim Tooley and Jerry Colangelo for what they do.
“So, I don’t know that it was me as much as the support group we had around us and the great group of athletes I had the opportunity to coach. They were just unbelievably committed to winning, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be around a group like that ever again.”
The USA Basketball Board of Directors is responsible for selecting the annual awards. The National Coach of the Year award was established in 1996 to recognize a USA Basketball head coach who, during the year of the award, made significant impact on the success of individual athlete and team performance at the highest level of competition.
“Our two coaches built outstanding teams for USA Basketball that our country was proud to cheer on in London,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO. “From the start of their involvement with our national team programs, Coach K and Geno have exemplified the qualities they stressed to our players, including commitment, selfless service and excellence.”