SALT LAKE CITY — The search is over at the University of Utah.
New Jersey Nets assistant Larry Krystkowiak signed a five-year contract late Saturday night to become the new head coach of the Utes.
The deal, which includes Krystkowiak's base salary, radio and television appearances, plus an Under Armour agreement, will pay $950,000 per year.
Although the university has released an official announcement regarding the hiring, Krystkowiak and Utah athletics director Chris Hill were not available for comment until a press conference today at 2 p.m.
Krystkowiak, who played for the Utah Jazz in 1992-93, is returning to Salt Lake City as a college coach for the first time since leading Montana into the second round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament at the Huntsman Center. He was 42-20 in two seasons at the helm of his alma mater.
Krystkowiak then opted for the NBA and became an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks, where he worked with former Ute Andrew Bogut.
When Utah parted ways with Ray Giacoletti that March, Krystkowiak interviewed with Hill for the position. The Bucks, however, swept in and fired head coach Terry Stotts and promoted Krystkowiak to the top spot — signing him to a four-year deal worth $2 million annually. The Utes then hired Jim Boylen, an assistant at Michigan State.
Krystkowiak was fired after 100 games over two seasons with Milwaukee, going 31-69 overall.
Boylen, meanwhile, eventually faced a similar fate at Utah. Hill "relieved" Boylen of his duties on March 12 after four seasons and a 69-60 record.
A second chance to bring Krystkowiak to Utah came to fruition when Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett reportedly turned down an opportunity to pursue the position in greater detail earlier this week.
Former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried was also in the pool of candidates believed to be finalists for the job. However, he declined to comment on the situation when contacted Saturday.
"Respectfully I cannot," Gottfried said via text message. "Sorry."
Later in the day, Krystkowiak agreed to terms to replace Boylen at Utah. He takes over a team that went 13-18 last season and returns every player except Jay Watkins.
In addition to stints at Montana and Milwaukee, Krystkowiak also served as head coach of the Idaho Stampede — leading them to a 37-16 mark and the CBA championship game.
Other coaching stops included time as an assistant with Montana and Old Dominion, as well as the position he's leaving to take the Utah job. Krystkowiak joined Avery Johnson's staff in New Jersey last July.
As a player, Krystkowiak holds the distinction of being the Big Sky Conference's only three-time player of the year. He won it from 1984-86 while racking up school records for career points (2,017) and rebounds (1,105).
Utah basketball coaches
1908-09 — Erastus J. Milne (3-8)
1909-10 — Robert Richardson (17-3)
1911-14 — Fred Bennion (44-9)127 comments on this story
1914-17 — Nelson H. Nordgren (26-7)
1917-25 — Thomas Fitzpatrick (42-30)
1925-27 — Ike Armstrong (9-18)
1927-53 — Vadal Peterson (385-230)
1953-71 — Jack Gardner (339-154)
1971-74 — Bill Foster (43-39)
1974-83 — Jerry Pimm (173-86)
1983-89 — Lynn Archibald (98-86)
1989-04 — Rick Majerus (323-95)
* Joe Cravens, acting 1989-90 (12-12)
* Dick Hunsaker, acting 2000-01 (18-12)
* Kerry Rupp, interim 2004 (9-4)
2004-07 — Ray Giacoletti (54-40)
2007-11 — Jim Boylen (69-60)
2011 — Larry Krystkowiak