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Montana native, former Griz player and coach Larry Krystkowiak out at Utah

Washington Utah Basketball
Posted at 6:05 PM, Mar 16, 2021

Montana native and former Griz men's basketball player and coach Larry Krystkowiak is out as the Utah men's basketball coach after 10 seasons of leading the program.

The school made the announcement Tuesday evening.

"Today, I informed head men's basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak that I am making a change in the leadership of our men's basketball program," Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. "The decision comes after a thorough evaluation of the program — both on and off of the court — as I do with every head coach at the conclusion of their seasons. Ultimately, our program needs a new voice, a new vision and a new leader who can build upon Larry's foundation and lead us to greater heights in the years ahead.

"Larry has always been dedicated to our student-athletes, to our University and to the Salt Lake City community, and I am grateful for his decade of service to the University of Utah. In addition, he and his wife Jan have been incredibly generous in supporting University and community initiatives. I want to wish Larry, Jan and their family the very best.

"The costs associated with this termination and the hiring of a new head coach and staff will be fully funded from athletically-generated resources. We will launch an immediate national search for a new head coach."

Krystkowiak was hired heading into the 2011-12 season at Utah. Krystkowiak finishes with a 183-139 record at Utah, including a 91-90 mark in Pac-12 Conference play, and led the Utes to the NCAA Tournament twice including the Sweet 16 in 2014-15. Utah hasn't been back to the tournament since 2015-16.

The Utes finished 12-13 overall in 2020-21 and 8-11 in conference play and bowed out of the conference tournament with a 91-85 loss to USC in the quarterfinal round. After a 23-win season in 2017-18, Krystkowiak's Utah teams have gone 45-42 overall the past three seasons including a 26-29 mark in conference play.

Krystkowiak, who was born in Missoula and grew up in Shelby, graduated from Missoula Big Sky before going on to become the all-time leading scorer (2,017 points) and rebounder (1,105) in Montana men's basketball history. He's the only player in UM men's history with over 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, which he achieved from 1982-86.

Krystkowiak was a second round draft pick by the Chicago Bulls in 1986 and went on to have a nine-year NBA career with six teams before getting into coaching.

After assistant gigs with Montana and Old Dominion, Krystkowiak got his first head coaching job with the CBA's Idaho Stampede for one season. After that, he was hired as the head man at his alma mater where he coached the Grizzlies for two seasons from 2004 to 2006 and led UM to the tournament both years. In his second year at UM, the No. 12 Grizzlies upset No. 5 Nevada 87-79 in the first round of the tournament, the last time Montana has won a game in the NCAA Tournament and just their second in program history. That win in 2006 by the Grizzlies was also the last time a Big Sky Conference men's team won an NCAA Tournament game.

After his second year at UM, Krystkowiak went on to coach with the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant and head coach while also coaching as an assistant with the New Jersey Nets before he was hired at Utah.