Larry Krystkowiak Out as Runnin’ Utes Head Coach

University+of+Utah+head+coach+Larry+Krystkowiak+argues+with+a+referee+following+a+call+during+an+NCAA+Basketball+game+vs.+The+University+of+Oregon+at+the+Jon+M.+Huntsman+Center+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+4%2C+2020.+%28Photo+by+Kiffer+Creveling+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

University of Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak argues with a referee following a call during an NCAA Basketball game vs. The University of Oregon at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah announced Tuesday evening that men’s basketball head coach Larry Krystkowiak has been relieved of his coaching duties. The move comes after Utah posted its first losing campaign since 2013. Krystkowiak had two years and about $7 million in compensation left on his contract.

Utah Athletics Director Mark Harlan released a statement on the move 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,” 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.”

Utah lost to USC in the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament last week. The loss finished off a turbulent season, one which saw the Utes beat some of the best and also lose to some of the worst. The 12-13 finish was disappointing, given the considerable talent on the roster. 

This is an attractive opening for many reasons, especially the young stars. Freshmen Pelle Larsson and Ian Martinez were very impressive for the Utes this year, and both look like building blocks for the program. Branden Carlson and Mikael Jantunen showed a ton of growth over the course of the season. Senior Alfonso Plummer could run it back with the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA. All of this, as well as All-Pac-12 forward Timmy Allen, means the Utes could be right back in the NCAA Tournament as soon as next year. 

Krystkowiak leaves a program that has gone downhill over the last couple of years. They last made the NCAA Tournament in 2016. There are high expectations for Utah, which historically has played some pretty good basketball. Krystkowiak has been at the helm for ten seasons, but a change may have been necessary for this program to reach its potential. 

“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,” said Harlan. “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.”

Utah will conduct a thorough search for their next head coach. It will be a pivotal hire for the program which is searching to regain the national relevance it has lacked for the past five years.

 

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