Jackson Has No Desire to Coach U.S. in Olympics

By Chris Sheridan

Jackson Has No Desire to Coach U.S. in Olympics

January 20, 2011

Phil Jackson has nine NBA championship rings, and he's in the process of trying for a 10th.

You'd think he might want to add an Olympic gold medal to that collection, too, but you'd be mistaken.

First of all, coaches don't get medals at the Olympics. Only players do.

Second, the Zen Master has zero interest in someday coaching the U.S. Senior National Team.

"No, no. Absolutely not," Jackson told ESPN.com when asked if he'd consider coaching the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

"I've never asked for it," Jackson said. "Fortunately for me in this business, my summers have been pretty much taken up by the NBA games, having gone to so many finals, and the summers extend into June.

"I really believe in my own personal downtime, so I've never volunteered or made an effort to get into that situation."

From a leadership perspective, the future of the national program is sketchy beyond this year's Olympics in Beijing with coach Mike Krzyzewski and managing director Jerry Colangelo both on the verge of completing their three-year commitments to the national program.

No coach has guided the Americans to a gold medal since Rudy Tomjanovich led the 2000 Sydney Olympic team -- George Karl's team lost three times and finished sixth at the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis, Larry Brown's 2004 Olympic team went to Athens with a 109-2 record to defend and lost three times, and Krzyzewski was outcoached by one Pannagaotis Yannakis of Greece two years ago in Japan.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was the heir apparent coming out of Athens, and it's unknown whether his feelings were irrevocably hurt when he was passed over in favor of Krzyzewski. Following his experiences in Athens and Indianapolis -- where he was an assistant coach -- Popovich penned a lengthy opus on his suggestions for fixing the U.S. national program. At this point, it remains unseen by the public.

Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan was considered the heir apparent a decade ago, but the belief in USA Basketball circles was that Tomjanovich was given the Sydney spot over Sloan because Tomjanovich didn't get the opportunity to work with a top-notch team in 1998 when the NBA lockout kept pro players off the U.S. World Championship team -- Tomjanovich finished third with a roster that included Brad Miller, Earl Boykins and Trajon Langdon.

Other past U.S. Olympic coaches have included Lenny Wilkens (1996), Chuck Daly (1992), John Thompson (1988), Bob Knight (1984), Dave Gavitt (1980 -- boycotted), Dean Smith (1976), Hank Iba (1972, 1968, 1964) and Pete Newell (1960).

What are your thoughts CLICK HERE to leave us a "My2Cents” comment.


© Copyright 2014 A Granite Broadcasting Station. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.