Utah basketball will have its coach for the long haul.
Larry Krystkowiak and athletic director Chris Hill have agreed to terms in principle on a new five-year contract, Hill told The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday morning.
The deal isn’t yet official, Hill said, because there are minor details to be worked out on both sides. But the two men have been working on a deal throughout the season, and terms were agreed upon a few weeks ago, Hill said.
“We’ve changed some things around from his original contract,” Hill told The Tribune, when reached by phone. “So essentially, it’s a new deal. Larry and I have been on the same page for a long time. He’s done a wonderful job. He’s great for the university and he’s great for the community.”
This comes on the heels of learning that Krystkowiak is a wanted commodity. Multiple sources have told The Tribune that California has contacted Krystkowiak about its opening.
That spot was vacated this week when Mike Montgomery retired.
With that in mind, getting an official signature from Krystkowiak will be an important endeavor for Hill in the coming days.
Krystkowiak’s original deal had two years remaining on it. But he’s done enough in the past three years to warrant a stronger commitment from the school’s administration. His Utah team went 21-12 this season, making the National Invitation Tournament and winning nine games in a Pac-12 that was one of the toughest conferences in the country.
Along the way, Krystkowiak has established an identity within the program — something that predecessors Ray Giacoletti and Jim Boylen weren’t able to accomplish.
This Utes program is now known for its defense and toughness, traits that Krystkowiak showed as an NBA player. Krystkowiak and his family have ingrained themselves within the community and Krystkowiak has made sure his players have done the same thing through community service.
After a nightmarish 6-25 first season, Utah improved to 15-18 by year two, and won more than 20 games this season.
More importantly, Krystkowiak has proven that he can recruit. He has pulled in Utah’s top-rated high school player — Jordan Loveridge and Brekkott Chapman — in two of his three seasons at the helm. He scoured the junior college ranks and lured Delon Wright away from Gonzaga and Washington. Wright became his first all-conference player this year.
Krystkowiak’s recruiting class for next season is ranked fourth in the Pac-12 by national websites. He returns the majority of his team for next year, and is expected to challenge for the upper division in the conference.
Coaching records • 2012: 6-25; 2013: 15-18; 2014: 21-12
Noteworthy • Finished .500 in the Pac-12 this past season. … Led Utes to a significant postseason tournament for the first time since 2009.