Will coach K get a gold medal for coaching Team USA basketball?
Mike Krzyzewski coached Team USA to a gold medal at the Olympics. He watched proudly as his 12 players stood on the podium to receive the medals. Will Coach K get one too?
No. Despite the picture above, only competitors receive gold medals at the Olympics. Coaches receive nothing from the IOC. (In 2008, the players put their gold medal on Coach K as a show of their appreciation.)
It makes sense if you think about it. Giving a medal to the head coach of team sports like basketball, soccer and volleyball would open the floodgates and create a number of questions. Would the courtesy extend to individual coaches? If so, Bob Bowman, the coach of Michael Phelps, would have 22 medals. Would assistants also get them too? What about team doctors or injured players?
The easy parallel to make is coaches getting championship rings in professional and college sports. But that's not an apples-to-apples comparison. Championship rings aren't officially sanctioned rewards. Team owners and athletic departments pay for those, not the NFL or NCAA.
Coaches have received golds before in rare circumstances. The most famous one in Olympic history, Miracle on Ice head coach Herb Brooks, was given a gold medal by Lake Placid organizers. They had extras in case of ties and thought Brooks deserved one for coaching a team of college kids to the biggest upset in sports history.
Starting in 2008, United States medalists were given the opportunity to present a small token to coaches and important figures in their sporting career. The Order of Ikkos is a small silver medal that athletes can bestow at their choosing.