San Antonio Spurs News

Stein: Gregg Popovich, Rivers top two candidates for USA coaching job

By Quixem Ramirez

Jan 5, 2011; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers (left) talks with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich (right) prior to the game at TD Garden. The Boston Celtics won 105-103. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich are the top two candidates for the Team USA coaching position, a void program chairman Jerry Colangelo aims to fill next year, according to Marc Stein of

“USAB officials, however, aren’t nearly that     optimistic. Colangelo has said repeatedly this     week that he’ll make one more run at it, after     giving Krzyzewski some time to decompress     when this is all over, but sources close to the     situation told that Boston Celtics     coach Doc Rivers and San Antonio Spurs     coach Gregg Popovich have indeed already     moved to the top of the list to take over in 2013 for Krzyzewski, who is expected to remain with the program     as a top aide to Colangelo if he can’t be convinced to extend his coaching tenure.”

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise since I have already covered the merits of Popovich’s candidacy a few days ago. Stein also mentioned Rick Pitino, Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan as dark horse candidates for the position.

Krzyzewski is expected to leave his duties as coach though he will continue to influence the United States basketball program, likely as Colangelo’s top aide. The respect he’s garnered from the position, especially from elite athletes like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, give me no reason to believe that Popovich won’t do the same.

Popovich has the inside track for the job, even though Colangelo may have his qualms, and can almost secure the spot if he so chooses. Rivers has been adamant in his support of Pop as well.

But how badly does Pop want this position? And will he be willing to forgo some of his off time, studying game tape at 4 a.m. and constructing a cohesive team, for the sake of a higher platform? His answer to these questions may decide who heads Team USA next year.

So what do you think, Spurs fans? Should the United States hire Popovich?