SALT LAKE CITY — Larry Krystkowiak was introduced as the new head basketball coach at the University of Utah Monday afternoon, a day after his hiring was announced.
Wearing a dark suit and a red tie and barely fitting under the ceiling of the room in the Huntsman Center, the 6-foot-9 Krystkowiak talked about his excitement to have the job in a place he called "special."
"I can't tell you how honored and excited I am to be chosen as the next coach at the University of Utah," Krystkowiak said. "The opportunity given to me means a lot to me and I understand the challenges that lie ahead. I want to get the pride back in University of Utah basketball."
Krystkowiak grew up in Montana and played four years for the University of Montana and also coached there as an assistant and a head coach, in 2004-06. He also played a year for the Utah Jazz in 1992-93.
"This reminds me very much of home," he said. "When I played here for the Utah Jazz I knew this place was special."
Utah athletics director Chris Hill said he had been impressed with his new coach in "many ways" and specifically mentioned his "leadership, toughness and intelligence and the way he cares about people around him."
Hill said he wanted to get Utah basketball tradition back and specifically mentioned coach Rick Majerus and the success he had in the 1990s.
"There are tremendous challenges ahead as we go in the Pac-12," Hill said. "We'll have a competition level we've never had and I can't think of anybody better that would bring that toughness and discipline to make us be successful."
Krystkowiak talked about leadership and making players better and said he had three main goals for his team — not to be outworked, to play smart and to play together. He also said he was confident he could recruit Top-100 players to Utah.
He said he wanted to get the best players out of the state of Utah and also said he would look internationally for players.
"I think there's an awful lot of kids abroad and I know a number of people overseas that want to send players over here," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind we can get Top-100 players. The institution will sell itself and the tradition that's been here and now we're in the Pac-12, the best league on the West Coast. We're certainly going to make a run for some of the top players in the country."
Several Ute players were on hand for the announcement, standing along the south side of the room and most said they planned to stay on at the U.
The one exception was the Utes' leading scorer, Will Clyburn, who said he hadn't made up his mind and talked about using his redshirt year, which might mean he wouldn't mind sitting out a year before his senior season, perhaps at another school.25 comments on this story
"I need to find 15 guys, 13 on scholarship, that are willing to make some sacrifices," said Krystkowiak, who planned to meet with the players later in the afternoon. "If they bring that passion and commitment, I'm confident we can get to a place we're all very proud of."
Krystkowiak's wife, Jan, was on hand for the press conference, along with their five children.
"We are all so excited to be in a position where we can call Utah our home and look forward to spending many years here," Krystkowiak said.