No, Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski will not receive a medal for coaching the United States men’s basketball team to gold in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Only players, not coaches, receive medals, according to Olympic rules.
But with the highest of expectations throughout the games for Team USA, and finally fulfilling them with the 107-100 win over Spain for the gold mdeal, Krzyzewski has not missed out on accolades, even if they cannot hang around his neck.
Now with a 62-1 record as the head coach of Team USA and two consecutive Olympic golds, Krzyzewski has stated repeatedly that he now plans to step down from his position with the American basketball program.
Here are some reactions from around the web about Krzyzewski and the Americans’ victory.
In the Sporting News, Sean Deveney writes that Coach K cemented his legacy with the gold medal:
LONDON—Back in 2006, when he first checked in with Team USA to play for coach Mike Krzyzewski in the World Championship, Chris Paul really wasn’t sure how things were going to go. Paul was just out of college, playing in the ACC for Wake Forest. In Paul’s eyes, Krzyzewski was the Darth Vader of the conference’s Evil Empire, the coach of Duke. Safe to say that now, six years later, he has come around.
“I tried to figure out how in the world I was going to play for a coach from Duke,” Paul said. “No, I am serious. I was fresh out of college and it’s tough for me to say it with my lips, but I love that guy. I love him. Even Chris Collins and Wojo, I couldn’t stand those guys the year before. And now they’re my family for the rest of my life. It was one of the best opportunities ever to play for Coach K.”
At the moment Krzyzewski stepped off the podium for his postgame press conference, having secured a second Olympic gold medal with Sunday’s 107-100 win over Spain, he was working under the assumption that he would be doing so for the final time as the head coach of USA Basketball’s men’s senior team. In his wake, he will leave a legacy that not only includes a sterling record, but also an impressive well of respect from the NBA stars he has directed through four international tournaments.
Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer says that Krzyzewski helped bring glory back to USA basketball and now “exits with a golden legacy of greatness:”
Krzyzewski knew he was risking some of his legacy with this game. Coaching the U.S. men’s or women’s basketball team is a high-risk, low-reward situation, since everyone in America shrugs if you win and rants if you don’t.
But he felt the pull of patriotism. And ultimately he gets to walk off into a golden sunset, armed with the knowledge that he played a large role in re-establishing the U.S. as the best basketball team in the world.
For Busting Brackets, Evan Williams states that Coach K solidified his legacy as basketball’s best coach:
There isn’t enough paper on the planet or bandwidth on the web to sufficiently transcribe the legend of Mike Krzyzewski.
I’ll do my best with what space I have.
The USA Olympic men’s basketball team defeated Spain in the gold medal game on Sunday, further embellishing the peerless résumé of the world’s greatest basketball coach. And if this is it—if this in fact was Krzyzewski’s final game patrolling the sidelines for Team USA, as the coach insists—the Duke hoops patriarch and savior of USA Basketball may take one final bow as the most versed, revered and accomplished basketball coach of all-time.
Krzyzewski is flying back to the United States today and will speak to reporters tonight–check back at The Blue Zone for quotes from him and Duke divers Nick McCrory and Abby Johnston, both of whom received medals in London.