While his first two seasons as the head coach at Utah were a bit of a struggle due in large part to the bare cupboard he inherited, head coach Larry Krystkowiak has led the program in the right direction. His second season in charge didn’t produce a record above .500, but it did feature the Utes’ first trip to the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.
And in 2013-14 the Utes won 21 games and earned a spot in the Postseason NIT, with junior guard Delon Wright and sophomore forward Jordan Loveridge leading the way. With all key members of the rotation expected back in Salt Lake City next season there’s realistic hope that Utah can earn an NCAA tournament bid for the first time since 2009.
And on Thursday it was announced by the school that Krystkowiak’s been rewarded with a new contract that will run through the 2018-19 season as a result of his work thus far.
“Our men’s basketball program continues to make tremendous progress under Coach Krystkowiak and his staff,” Utah AD Chris Hill said in the release. “He has embraced being a part of the Utah family and immersed himself in the Salt Lake community. I am excited about the future of our program under his leadership and look forward to continued success on, and off, the court.”
In addition to the returnees Utah will add a very good recruiting class led by forward Kyle Kuzma, who spent the second half of the season working out with the team. What cost Utah in its quest to reach the NCAA tournament in 2013-14 was the strength of their non-conference slate, something that isn’t expected to be an issue in 2014-15.
While Arizona will once again be the favorite to win the Pac-12 next season there are teams capable of challenging, and Utah has the talent needed to be in that mix. The next step for Krystkowiak’s program is to perform better on the road, and if the Utes can do that they’ll be a factor in the Pac-12.