Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams are joining the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team, adding two respected defensive coaches to Mike Krzyzewski’s staff.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim returns to round out the staff for the next three years, USA Basketball announced Monday.
Thibodeau, whose Chicago Bulls are one of the NBA’s toughest defensive teams, and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Williams will replace Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan.
”I think it was important after the recent announcement of Coach K coming back as our head coach to address our staff and after a lot of deliberation it was felt that some change would be in the best interest of our program,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said on a conference call.
”Circumstances change for individuals, and we really thank Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan for their service and feel that with the two additions to the staff to replace them in Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams, we’ve added a couple of outstanding coaches to join our staff.”
Krzyzewski decided recently to remain the coach after leading the Americans to Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012. Boeheim decided to stick around, but D’Antoni and McMillan are moving on after serving on the U.S. staffs with him for the past seven years.
”To work with Jim Boeheim again, who’s as close of a friend as you can have in this profession and also one of the brilliant coaches in the history of our game, to have him right alongside me is fantastic,” Krzyzewski said in a statement. ”We’ve done that for the last seven years, we’re going to do it for four more.”
The new staff will take part in the Americans’ minicamp for young players in July, and its first competition together will be the 2014 World Cup of Basketball in Spain.
Williams, a former assistant to McMillan, attended some of the Americans’ games in London last summer to watch the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, and was asked to join the staff a couple of weeks ago.
”I never thought twice about coaching on the team, I was there because Anthony asked me to come,” Williams said. ”So I just went out there to support him, not realizing that I was going to get an invitation the next year.”
Krzyzewski praised Thibodeau, the former NBA Coach of the Year who led the Bulls into the second round despite a series of injuries, including the season-long absence of star point guard Derrick Rose. The Hall of Fame Duke coach said that ”nobody wants to play the Bulls.”
”I think he is one of the best defensive coaches, his defensive game plans are incredible, and so I’m really looking forward to working with him,” Krzyzewski added.