Pop turns down offer to coach Russian National Team

Gregg PopovichSan Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was finally offered the opportunity to coach a national team recently. Unfortunately, though, it wasn't the United States National Team that came calling.

According to a report on sportando.net, Popovich was offered the job to become the head coach of the Russian National Team to succeed David Blatt, but Popovich declined.

While it seems like a perfect match, considering Popovich graduated from the Air Force Academy with a degree in Soviet Studies, speaks Russian and is said to be a fan of Russia's history and culture, he declined citing personal reasons.

Those "personal reasons" could have something to do with the fact that he's been rumored as a candidate, along with Celtics coach and former Spur Doc Rivers to succeed Mike Krzyzewski at the helm of Team USA, which many thought should have been his job to begin with.

If Popovich did take the job, he wouldn't be the first in San Antonio to choose foreign soil after being spurned by the United States. San Antonio Silver Star Becky Hammon was scrutinized and heavily criticized after she chose to play for the Russian National Team, living out her dream of playing in the Olympics after the U.S. Selection Committee chose less experienced players to fill out their point guard slots.

While Popovich is missing the opportunity to whisper in the ears of Andrei Kirilenko and Timofey Mozgov about, oh, the fabulous weather in San Antonio, he would be a natural fit leading the United States.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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