Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

USA Basketball agrees to leave Colorado Springs for Arizona

By Matt Steiner Published: August 1, 2013

By fall of 2015, Colorado Springs will be down one Olympic organization from its repertoire of national governing bodies that call the Pikes Peak region home.

USA Basketball announced Wednesday morning that it has agreed to be part of a $350 million project located next to the Arizona State campus in Tempe, Ariz. The decision to relocate was made at a USA Basketball board meeting July 25.

Rumors of a possible move by the organization had been circulating since May 23 when men's national team coach Mike Krzyzewski gave hints at the news conference announcing he would coach the squad through 2016.

Krzyzewski said the organization wanted to become a grass-roots leader, reaching beyond the national teams and developing the sport for all ages.

A new headquarters and basketball training center will be constructed on 10.5 acres in Tempe. USA Basketball executive director Jim Tooley called the move "an appropriate next step for us." USA Place LLC will be the developer on the project.

"This is an exciting and an incredible opportunity that offers nothing but positives for USA Basketball," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.

Colangelo, who has ties to Arizona as a longtime official with the Phoenix Suns, has been the chairman of USA Basketball since 2009. He also served as managing director of the men's senior national team from 2005 to 2009.

USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said his organization will not have to contribute any money toward construction.

The organization will have access to a 4,500-seat event center and use of a 330-room Omni Hotel for dormitories and office space for its new headquarters.

"It just increases our opportunity to complete the evolution of USA Basketball," Miller said, noting that the new facilities will allow the national governing body to hold youth camps, coaching clinics and other events "whenever we want."

According to Tooley, the complex and activities that will be held there will "absolutely" boost revenue for the organization. The executive director said USA Basketball has agreed to sign a 30-year lease for the complex that will be managed by another group.

The event center will serve as a training facility for national teams and house camps and clinics. The facility will have five courts and will morph into the single-court event center for games.

The men's national team has an agreement to train in Las Vegas until 2016, but the high-profile staple of USA Basketball could eventually make Tempe its training headquarters, Tooley said.

"We expect all our national teams to be down there at different times," Tooley said. "The question is when and how often."

There will also be a 30,000-square-foot conference center, 500 luxury apartments and several hundred thousand square feet of retail and office space on the property.

The development plan must be approved by the Tempe City Council and Arizona Board of Regents before relocation plans move forward.

Tooley sees that as a small bump in the road.

"We wouldn't have announced it if we didn't feel good that this thing was going through," he said.

USA Basketball, which employs 15 people in its Colorado Springs offices and is expected to boost that staff by as many as 10 in the coming months, has been flirting with relocation since 2008.

A deal had been reached with a Glendale, Ariz., developer to build a 75-acre complex to house a new headquarters, training center, hotel and sports fitness complex. The developer failed to get financing for the project and the agreement was nixed in 2010.

Tooley said in May that since 2008, multiple cities have tried to entice the organization into moving. Each time, promises of a large, diverse facility were part of the plan.

In Colorado Springs, the organization uses the U.S. Olympic Training Center on East Boulder Street but often finds itself competing for gymnasiums with 13 other sports.

USA Basketball's headquarters have been located off Mark Dabling Boulevard since 1993 in a building it owns.

National governing bodies for 22 sports call Colorado Springs home. The influx came after the U.S. Olympic Committee moved to Colorado Springs from New York City in 1978.

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