US women’s hoops program director stepping down after Tokyo

USA Basketball women’s national team director Carol Callan will step down after the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her role as the president of FIBA Americas.

Callan has been with the national team since 1995 and has worked behind the scenes to help the U.S. win six consecutive Olympic gold medals. She was the person who made the call to players to let them know if they made a USA Basketball team. Callan also was in charge of the logistics whenever a team would travel to a tournament or training camp.

Callan said she has been talking with USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley for several years about stepping down.

“This will be my seventh Olympics,” Callan said in a phone interview Monday with The Associated Press. “I remember when Lindsay Whalen retired she took herself out of consideration for the Olympics. I’ve had my chance and now someone else should have their chance to.”

Callan will still engaged with women’s basketball on the international stage. She was elected by the International Basketball Federation’s Zone Board in 2019 to serve a four-year term, becoming the first female to hold the position as head of FIBA Americas.

“I loved every minute of it,” Callan said about working with USA Basketball, adding “with the FIBA Americas presidency, there’s an opportunity to continue to serve women’s basketball and basketball in general in our zone in the Americas and have influence throughout FIBA. I’ve been been doing multiple jobs and now can give a more fulltime effort to that.”

The U.S. has also won five World Cup championships with her in charge. Callan will be enshrined into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame next month. She will continue to be a consultant for USA Basketball’s newly formed foundation working on initiatives supporting women and youth and sport development.

“What a great way to be able to step aside a little bit and still have an opportunity to consult with USA Basketball,” she said of her work with the foundation.

The Americans’ only loss in major international competition during Callan’s tenure as national team director was in the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup. The U.S. rebounded with a bronze medal and hasn’t lost on the biggest stages since.

Callan said no successor has been chosen yet.

“This is why the announcement was today to give USA Basketball a chance to see who’s out there,” she said. “I think there some time now although the World Cup is in September 2022 so you don’t want to wait too long.”