It’s been in the works for weeks and maybe even months, but on Thursday, it became official: The Utah men’s basketball program has signed coach Larry Krystkowiak to a five-year deal worth $7 million total.
The Tribune first reported Krystkowiak had agreed to a deal in principle on April 3, and the two sides were merely working out minor details before he signed a contract.
Since 2011-12 when the team won six games, Utah dramatically improved in each of Krystkowiak’s last two seasons of his three-year head coaching tenure. Last season, the Utes went 21-12 with an appearance in the NIT, its first postseason appearance since 2009.
Athletic director Chris Hill said he expects the upward trend to continue by locking up the team’s coach through the rest of the decade.
"We wouldn’t be agreeing to this unless we both felt the program was going in the right direction," he said. "We’ve been on the same page for months. It’s a good thing for Larry, and it’s a good thing for the university."
Krystkowiak has raised his profile by building Utah into a competitive team in the Pac-12. The Utes went 9-9 in conference play this season, and ranked highly against other conference teams in several defensive categories. He had been getting interest from other schools including California, the Tribune reported earlier this month.
In the school news release, Krystkowiak called Utah "one of the best college jobs in America. He cited his returning talent and various facility upgrades among his incentives to stay put in Salt Lake City.
"We still have a lot of work to do but we are on the cusp of doing some special things and I’m proud to be a part of it," he said in the release.
The deal includes monetary incentives for Krystkowiak to stay put. He’ll receive a $375,000 bonus if he stays through the 2016-17 season, and he’ll get another if he completes the full length of the contract.
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