Utah Utes basketball: Coach Larry Krystkowiak gets questioned and has the answers
Krystkowiak: When people come to watch Runnin' Ute basketball, we're not going to win all of the games. But we're going to play hard and lay it on the line. I think people will leave the arena with their money's worth, in terms of effort. That's one thing we can control. Fans of Utah understand the game and they're not going to accept shortcuts. If we don't win, I'd like to think we can still gain some momentum with the fans. When you start winning, the peripheral fans, people on the fringe, may come watch. I think we can attract people that are interested in basketball and winning will take it to the next level."
News: You've been a coach since 1998, but have never stayed at a job for more than two years. What can you say to assure Ute fans that you'll be here for more than a couple of years?
Krystkowiak: I'm hoping that the only way I'm going to be gone is if I don't do a good enough job. I have all of the confidence in the world we can get the job done. To me this is a destination job. This is isn't a job I'm using to get anywhere else, for a number of reasons. When you're in a position to be coaching in the Pac-12, in this environment with five kids ... my nomadic days are over.
But a lot of those moves were circumstantial rather than trying to find the next thing. Two or three of those stops on the resume were more staying in the game and proving that I wanted to be a part of it. If there's an opportunity that presents itself, sometimes you have to take it.
If someone tells me to leave, obviously I've got to go, I've got to turn in the keys.
But I can't be any more clear about it — I'm not looking for the next job. I want to be here and raise a normal family. I want to be here when my kids are going through high school. I've spent the last nine months on a solo mission. My family has been in San Diego, while I've been in New Jersey by myself, living off the Skype. It's the worst, hardest year I've ever been through. It was great basketball-wise to be able to work with Avery Johnson, but from a personal view, it was as hard as it got and I don't want to be away from the family or disrupt the family. That's part of getting back to college again.
News: Tell us about your family.
Krystkowiak: We have three boys 11, 10 and 8. Our twin girls are 31/2. They're very much into sports. They're basketball junkies, baseball and we like to play golf. I've got a built-in foursome with the three boys. Basically if something is round, they've taken a liking to it.
News: What do you like to when you're not coaching basketball?
Krystkowiak: Anything to do with family is No. 1 for me. That's hobby No. 1 — spending time with the gang and getting away from the game. I like playing golf and fishing with my boys.
News: Looking back a year from now, what would you consider to be a successful first year for you?
Krystkowiak: Each day is kind of microcosm of what one year will be. I come in early, know I've got a bunch of things to do, start pounding away at them and I know the program's in a better state at the end of the day. I go back at the end of the day and take a deep breath and say, "I feel good about that, what's the next challenge?"
You want to instill that in your guys, to represent themselves properly, make good decisions, work hard, then whatever happens we can live with when we know we put in an honest day's effort. I want to start that culture. We're not thinking about NCAA Tournaments or Pac-12 tournaments or attendance or anything like that. We're just going to try to control what we can control today. If we can instill that in our guys and get 15 people that want to be here and are buying in, we're going to be successful.
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