SALT LAKE CITY — Andy Hill, a longtime Montana assistant who helped Larry Krystkowiak lead the Grizzlies to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2005 and 2006, is the latest addition to the new Utah coaching staff.
Krystkowiak announced the hiring Monday morning.
"Andy and I had a great experience together at Montana, and I wanted to create that again here at Utah," Krystkowiak said. "The bottom line with Andy is that he gets things done, he is extremely diligent and energetic. He always helped me keep one step ahead of things and that will be important again as we move forward in rebuilding this program. Andy has great skills with people, is a terrific recruiter and will represent the university and our staff very well."
After seven years at Montana, Hills joins a staff that already includes former Westminster head coach Tommy Connor and ex-Colorado State assistant DeMarlo Slocum.
"It's a privilege to become part of this Utah program," Hill said in a released statement. "Utah has an amazing history as one of the top basketball teams in the country, and I look (forward) to working hard to make the program proud. I'm also really excited to rejoin coach Krystkowiak. He is first and foremost an outstanding person as well as an outstanding coach. He has a great basketball mind and work ethic, and I think he is a head coach that his staff and players can believe in and follow."
On Friday, Krystkowiak made believers out of several basketball alumni and boosters at a breakfast "Meet and Greet" gathering. Britton Johnsen was among those who were impressed by the new coach.
"I think he's a great hire," Johnsen said. "I think that he's got a good rap sheet, and he's someone that we need right now. He's seems to just have this serious tone to do all the little things. That's what this program needs. We've gotten away from a lot of those little things that used to be standards on the team — that we're always going to play defense, we're always going to rebound, we're always going to hustle."
Head coach Jim Boylen appeared to do a good job on the surface, he added, but those things never seemed to be integrated into the practices.
Johnsen acknowledged it was hard to see the once-proud program struggle. He caught a few games last season (when Utah went 13-18) with his brother Jeff, who is also a former Runnin' Ute.
"We were used to that stadium being full and vibrant and fun," Britton said. "It was a little discouraging to see some of those games this year. I know how fans are. Fans, they want to win and I don't blame them. They've had a lot of good moments here with two big bowls games (Fiesta, Sugar) and a Final Four in the past decade. It's been fun."
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company