What encourged Utah to extend Larry Krystkowiak’s contract?

Sure, Mike Krzyzewski has snagged most of the spotlight this week after leading Duke to their fifth NCAA title in school history. But there’s another Coach K out there, who made headlines of his own on Wednesday.

Utah announced that coach Larry Krystkowiak had signed a contract extension through the 2022-23 season.

While we have touted the Utes for their freshness and drive even before they made it all the way to this year’s Sweet 16, extending Larry Krystkowiak’s tenure in Salt Lake City is a true showing of how much the school values him as part of their resurgence.

Utah’s Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill said in the announcement:

“Our men’s basketball program has made tremendous strides these past four seasons under Coach Krystkowiak. The success of a program starts with its head coach and he has provided outstanding leadership for our student-athletes. Larry is aware of his value to our program. It is clear that his success has been noted throughout the country and we are pleased to be able to solidify his commitment to our program.”

The team has indeed come alive under Krystkowiak, bringing national attention to some of its promising athletes.

Four players were named Pac-12 All-Academic, the most out of any team in the conference. Pac-12 post-season honors went to freshman Jakob Poeltl and senior star Delon Wright.

Wright himself — widely considered to be as much a catalyst to the program as Krystkowiak has been — raked in a number of post-tourney honors, including a Wooden Award selection and being named second team All-American by the AP, among other nods.

Larry Krystkowiak didn’t just have seasoned seniors to work with. Just watch a highlight reel of Poeltl using his size in the Utes’ gritty Sweet 16 bid — it’s no wonder this guy has NBA draft geeks salivating.

But we have to imagine that the way Krystkowiak led the Utes through the Big Dance this season is what really aided in getting him that contract extension.

After tallying a 26-9 season record, Utah put up convincing wins over SF Austin and Georgetown. They even hung tough in their Sweet 16 appearance against a dominant, and now tournament champion, Duke Blue Devils team.

Sure, that game went to the other Coach K, but that didn’t stop Krystkowiak from getting that well-deserved contract extension.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports