Head coach Mike Krzyzewski made history by becoming the first head coach ever to win three Olympic ...

The Chronicle's top 10 of 2016: Mike Krzyzewski wins third Olympic gold medal

With the end of 2016 quickly approaching, The Chronicle's sports department takes a look back at the biggest sports stories of the year. Each day, The Blue Zone will review a major game, event or storyline that helped shape the course of the year in Blue Devil athletics.

Coming in at No. 5 on our list: Duke men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski wins his third gold metal as head coach of the U.S. national team at the 2016 Olympics.

In 2011, Mike Krzyzewski became the winningest Division I men's coach in college basketball history. 

During the summer, a new milestone set him apart from all other coaches in a different category. 

The 69-year-old became the first USA Basketball head coach to win three Olympic gold metals when the national team defeated Serbia 96-66 Aug. 21. The Americans cruised past their final three opponents in the knockout rounds to cap off an 8-0 record at the Rio Olympics. 

Still, Krzyzewski and company faced adversity not seen in the national team’s gold medal runs at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

With NBA superstars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook sitting out the Olympics, Team USA defeated its last three opponents in the group stage by a combined 16 points. One of those wins came down to the final seconds as Serbia missed a wide open 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game.

Krzyzewski said his squad struggled in part because the competition in Rio was stiffer than at the previous two Olympics, where he captured his other gold metals.

“There were more good teams in this Olympics than there were in ‘08 and ’12,” Krzyzewski said after returning to Durham Aug. 22. “In other words, more medal-worthy teams, and if you’re medal-worthy, that means you’re gold-medal worthy, because anything can happen depending on who your matchup is against.”

Krzyzewski also said that he will step down as national team head coach and will not succeed Jerry Colangelo as managing director of USA Basketball. But he plans to advise his replacement as head coach, San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich, to ensure that Team USA continues its success. 

“I’m done coaching the U.S. team. I won’t be [the managing director],” Krzyzewski said. “I feel really good about what we’ve done, how we’ve done it.”

 Krzyzewski helped rebuild the infrastructure of USA Basketball after the national team failed to win gold at the 2004 Olympics. The five-time collegiate national champion concluded his USA Basketball tenure with an 88-1 record and a 76-game winning streak, and the Americans have won the last five major international tournaments, including the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Cups.

READ MORE on Krzyzewski winning his third gold medal:

Mike Krzyzewski set for final Olympics as Team USA head coach

Indiana star Paul George builds strong relationship with Mike Krzyzewski during return to USA basketball

Twitter reacts to Mike Krzyzewski winning third straight Olympic gold medal

Mike Krzyzewski becomes first national team head coach to win 3 gold medals

Krzyzewski returns from Rio, shoots down rumors of succeeding Jerry Colangelo as USA basketball director

A look at the rest of our Top 10 countdown to date:

10. Duke rowing makes first-ever NCAA championship

9. Duke football rallies to stun Notre Dame as injuries mount

8. Grayson Allen returns for junior season but earns suspension for 3 tripping incidents

7. Duke baseball makes NCAA tournament for the first time since 1961

6. Landmark wins against North Carolina in 4 sports

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