Jerry Colangelo’s involvement with USA Basketball began on April 27, 2005, when he was announced as the Managing Director of the then newly organized USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team program. He later was elected chairman of USA Basketball’s Board of Directors for the 2009-12 quadrennium, and was reelected for a second term, 2013-16.
Taking control in 2005 of a USA National Team that hadn’t won a major international competition since 2000, Jerry Colangelo rebuilt the program from the bottom up. Obtaining the involvement of the NBA’s top players and some of basketball’s most respected coaches, Colangelo’s first step was naming Duke University’s Hall of Fame mentor Mike Krzyzewski as the USA National Team head coach. Colangelo (left) is pictured here at that announcement with (from left to right) Krzyzewski, then-USA Basketball President Val Ackerman and former U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball head coach Chuck Daly.
After 10 years of Mike Krzyzewski serving as the USA National Team head coach, Jerry Colangelo (left) tabbed five-time NBA championship head coach Gregg Popovich to lead the American national team for 2017-20.
Since Jerry Colangelo took charge of the national team, the USA men have compiled a remarkable 97-4 overall record (66-3 in official FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions and 31-1 record in exhibition games) and claimed top honors in six of eight FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. He is pictured here after receiving his 2010 FIBA World Cup ring.
Under Jerry Colangelo the USA men have claimed gold medal finishes at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2008 Beijing Olympics (pictured), 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2012 London Olympics, 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
During Jerry Colangelo’s first term as managing director, the USA National Team program compiled a striking 36-1 overall win-loss record in FIBA and exhibition games, and just as importantly re-established the USA team as positive ambassadors for the United States and the sport.
In 2013-16, Jerry Colangelo’s third quad at the helm of the USA National Team, while collecting an overall 26-0 record, the USA compiled a 9-0 record to claim the 2014 FIBA World Cup gold medal and earn the U.S. its first ever back-to-back world titles. The U.S. concluded Colangelo’s third quad by finishing 8-0 in Rio to claim a third-consecutive Olympic gold medal.
Jerry Colangelo (right) will remain at the USA National Team managing director through next summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games, where the USA will be led by head coach Greg Popovich.
Jerry Colangelo’s overall impact on the game of basketball has been so significant he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April 2004.
Jerry Colangelo was the face of the NBA Phoenix Suns franchise from its inaugural season in 1968 through 2012. His roles included general manager, head coach, president, managing general partner, chief executive officer and chairman. His 43-year tenure with Phoenix came to an end in 2012 and was at the time the longest in the NBA. On Nov. 4, 2007, Colangelo became the 12th member of the Phoenix Suns' Ring of Fame, the club’s most elite group.
Jerry Colangelo brought Major League Baseball to Phoenix in 1998 and served as Chairman and CEO of the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Going from expansion team to World Series champion in just four years was a record for Major League Baseball. Arizona won the National League West in just its second season to become the fastest expansion team in baseball history to qualify for the postseason, just as the Suns did in its second season in 1969-70.
Jerry Colangelo also was the key element in facilitating the move of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets to Arizona in 1996, where they became the Phoenix Coyotes.
Chairman of the NBA’s Board of Governors 2001 through 2005, Jerry Colangelo was a member of the league’s Finance Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, Expansion Committee and Competition and Rules Committee. Additionally, Colangelo chaired a special group in the 2000-01 season that evaluated the state of the game and made rules modifications.
Jerry Colangelo served on the founding committee for the WNBA, helping advance professional women's basketball in the U.S. The Phoenix Mercury were one of the WNBA's inaugural teams in 1997 and set a league attendance record in its first season.
As with the NBA, Jerry Colangelo was involved with the governing of baseball, serving on the Legislative Committee, Equal Opportunity Committee and on the board of directors of the MLB Advanced Media, the technology arm of the league.
Jerry Colangelo currently is chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Jerry Colangelo is the author of two books – Return of the Gold, which profiles Colangelo’s journey and experience with the Redeem Team at the 2008 Olympics, and How You Play the Game, his insight into the world of the business of sports and his own life.
Jerry Colangelo enrolled at the University of Kansas, but transferred after his prospective basketball teammate, Wilt Chamberlain, left for a pro contract. He transferred to the University of Illinois, where he earned All-Big Ten honors, captained the Illini as a senior and was later inducted into the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame. He also played two years of baseball at Illinois. He is pictured here before the USA’s practice in Japan in 2006.
Through the Years: Jerry Colangelo
Photo Vault: Chris Paul