Published: May 24, 2013
The desire for USA Basketball to move its offices out of Colorado Springs is going strong.
During Thursday's press conference announcing the return of Mike Krzyzewski as the men's national team's coach through the 2016 Olympics, Krzyzewski said the organization that has been in Colorado Springs since 1979 intends to move.
Krzyzewski talked about USA Basketball's desire to become a "grass roots" leader for basketball programs of all ages, reaching beyond the national teams, and the need for facilities to handle those programs.
Craig Miller, a spokesman for the organization, echoed those comments Friday. He said the push for a grass roots program has fueled the talks about moving.
"It's an open door," Miller said. "But there's nothing that we've officially signed or officially announced."
Miller and USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley said no decisions have been made, but each man noted that several cities around the country have expressed interest in welcoming the organization and building a large, multifaceted facility.
Miller said, "Colorado Springs has always been a good fit for USA Basketball." But he indicated that sharing the Olympic Training Center with other sports and special events has been detrimental to keeping the governing body's interests in the city.
"You are always limited because there are other organizations using the facilities," Miller said.
USA Basketball could be lured elsewhere, especially if someone else is picking up the tab to build the facilities, Miller said.
"You never know when Daddy Big Bucks will come along," he said.
Krzyzewski's statement comes less than three years after a deal to move to Glendale, Ariz., fell apart. That deal came to fruition after USA Basketball solicited possible locations in 2007.
Twelve cities responded to the request. Glendale was chosen by a committee that included former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, who is now the USA Basketball chairman. Colangelo played a big role in bringing Krzyzewski back for the next four years and spoke at Thursday's press conference.
The Glendale project was to include a training complex, a sports medical clinic, a hotel and administrative offices.
According to Tooley, a move has continued to be discussed since the Glendale move fell through, but he would not comment on whether another specific location was leading that conversation.
"We've talked to several people over the last five or six years," he said. "But we don't have anything to say at this point. It wouldn't be fair to the process or to the people in our community."
"I think in the near future you're going to hear announcements about moving USA Basketball and it's going to be a big complex in another part of the country," Krzyzewski said.
"I don't think I'm at liberty to say exactly where yet and what they're doing," he said. "But in the next four years or so, there's going to be major, major progress in that regard, which will give facilities necessary to maybe take on a bigger role in coordinating everything that goes on in our country basketball-wise. I believe that's going to happen in the future and I'd like to be part of that. Our game needs that."
Mike Moran of the Colorado Springs Sports Corp. called USA Basketball "a valued and important part of the Olympic family," adding that losing the organization would be a "great loss" for the city. Moran said he attended meetings with basketball officials before the Glendale, Ariz., project was underway and said the need for all-inclusive facilities was a major factor in deciding to move from Colorado Springs.
Tooley did not rule out the possibility of staying in Colorado Springs long term. There are 22 governing bodies for United States national teams that call Colorado Springs home.
"Obviously staying put is always an option," Tooley said.