FARMINGTON, Utah — Montana men's basketball legend Larry Krystkowiak, Montana State distance running star and late MSU athletic administrator Dr. Ginny Hunt are among the Big Sky Conference's hall of fame induction class for 2023.
There are 14 inductees in this year's class, which will be honored July 22 as part of the annual Big Sky Football Kickoff at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Spokane, Washington.
Krystkowiak, whose playing career at Montana spanned from 1982-86, ranks as the Montana men’s basketball program’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder with 2,017 points and 1,105 boards. Krystkowiak remains eighth in the Big Sky in career points and fourth in rebounds. The Shelby product was named Big Sky MVP three times and was also a three-time Associated Press All-America honorable mention pick.
Krystkowiak is the only Montana men’s basketball player to have his jersey retired. Krystkowiak was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bulls in 1986, which ranks him as one of only seven Big Sky players to be selected in the NBA Draft since 1986. Krystkowiak played seven seasons.
Krystkowiak coached Montana to a 42-20 record and two conference titles between 2004-06 while taking the Griz to two NCAA tournaments and winning a first-round game. Montana’s upset of No. 5 seed Nevada in 2006 remains the last Big Sky victory in the NCAA Tournament.Krystkowiak also served as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA and the Utah Utes.
Butler, from Eureka, ran at Montana State from 1989-91 after transferring from Auburn where he started his collegiate career. He won two NCAA championships and claimed 12 Big Sky titles. In 1991, he completed a rare sweep of the 1,500 meters, the 5,000 meters, and the 10,000 meters at the outdoor championships. He was the first Big Sky athlete to win all three at the same meet, and one of only two to even run all three events.
Butler captured Big Sky individual cross country titles in 1989 and 1990 and went on to finish second at the 1989 NCAA Mountain Regional and won the meet in 1990. Butler finished second at the NCAA cross country championships his senior year. Butler, who resides in Darby, Montana, was a five-time All-American.
Hunt served as an athletic administrator at Montana State from 1977-93. While working to build MSU’s women’s athletic programs, Hunt was also a strong voice on the national level for opportunities in athletics at all levels for women.
She was actively involved in the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and NCAA, as well as the U.S. Olympic Committee. Hunt chaired the AIAW ethics committee and was the organization’s president-elect when it was folded into the NCAA. Hunt passed away in 2022 at the age of 86.
The remaining hall of fame inductees are as follows:
Archie Amerson, football, Northern Arizona (1995-96); Lindsey Anderson, track and field, Weber State (2004-07); Geronne Black, track and field, Portland State (2010-13); Debby Colberg, volleyball, Sacramento State (1976-07); Kim Exner, volleyball, Eastern Washington (1995-98); Chick Hislop, cross country/track and field, Weber State (1969-06); Margarita Karnaukhova, women’s tennis, Sacramento State (2003-06); Jamie Martin, football, Weber State (1989-92); Charles Roberts, football, Sacramento State (1997-00); Michael Roos, football, Eastern Washington (2001-04); Ron Stephenson, commissioner (1981-95).
“It’s our honor to recognize this amazing group for induction as our second Big Sky Hall of Fame Class,” Big Sky commissioner Tom Wistrcill stated in a press release. “These 14 individuals elevated the Big Sky into what it is today and made a lasting impact on their sport, school and community that will be felt today and for years to come.”
The 2023 hall of fame class is the second for the Big Sky, which inaugurated its hall last summer in Spokane. This year's induction event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Mountain time at the Northern Quest. For ticket information, click here.