Finding Coach K’s USA Basketball Replacement

Story posted March 9, 2013 in CommRadio, Sports by Ryan Stevens

As the end of college basketball’s regular season approaches, the greatest rivalry in college basketball will take center stage for another time this year. 

On the powder blue side, Carolina fans for the last decade have been able to count on Roy Williams.  It’s a little different, however, for Duke Fans. 

The man that has led the Blue Devils since 1980 and has the court named after himself, has amounted one of the greatest resumes college basketball will ever see.

Mike Krzyzewski recently announced he will no longer coach Team USA.  Coach K had a record of 62-1 as head coach when he joined after the bronze medal finish in the 2004 Olympics in Greece. 

USA basketball said it would like to name a head coach this summer to prepare for the 2014 World Championships in Madrid.

This news can only come with more questions to rise when the college basketball season will finally conclude.  Is Coach K nearing the end of his illustrious career? 

Finding Krzyzewski’s replacement will span the college and professional ranks, but who could possibly become his replacement at Duke?  That will need to be answered in years down the road though.

Whether Jerry Colangelo can make a pitch to keep Krzyzewski on board remains in question, but there are candidates that are more than able to carry the gauntlet of USA basketball.

Gregg Popovich, Spurs: Popovich has compiled the best active record in the NBA right now.  His ability to coach international players at a high level (Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker) give him an advantage of planning for the international game better than anyone being considered. 

Four NBA titles and continuous success even with what everyone likes to call an “aging” team only helps his stock.  Being 64 years old could pull Colangelo away if wanting to find a coach that wouldn’t be in question every two years after long, global road trips.

Doc Rivers, Celtics:  After the 2012 playoffs, Rivers only made a stronger case for himself.  Guiding an aging team, much like Popovich’s, to the conference finals and having the Miami Heat on brink of elimination helped immensely. 

Always being known as a player’s coach, now that his son Austin is in the NBA and possibly being involved in the developmental stages in USA basketball, Rivers can certainly relate to players better more than ever. 

Rivers is only 51 and played on for Team USA in the 1982 World Championships.

John Calipari, Kentucky:  Calipari has hinted he will only be at Kentucky for a couple more years and this will be his final stop.  But how can a guy that brings in talent after talent for just one year not a candidate for the job?  If Calipari can recruit the best out of high school to play together for one year, could he possibly swing the same deal with some of the NBA’s top talent?

 By the 2016 Summer games, Calipari’s first recruiting class at Kentucky of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Bledsoe will only be entering the prime of their careers, so some would seemingly be in contention for roster spots by then. 

Billy Donovan, Florida:  Donovan would more than likely be a dark horse for the candidacy, but could join the right staff as an assistant. 

Since serving under Rick Pitino at Kentucky, Donovan has won two national championships at Florida and currently has 11 players in the NBA.  Coaching in the same conference and recruiting year after year against John Calipari makes his job a lot tougher, but should be recognized for having Florida as Kentucky’s main competition in the SEC. 

Ryan Stevens is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

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Ryan Stevens

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english.  He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.

During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.

Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.

Ryan is also a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. He can be reached via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and following him on twitter @RyanAStevens.