COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – As passionate as Larry Krystkowiak is about coaching the University of Utah basketball team, he’s just as dedicated to being there for his sons, Ben and Luc, when they take the court for Brighton High School.
“It’s awesome,” Krystkowiak said. “It’s a different experience to get to go out as a parent and hang out with the parents of the players and watch those guys and the excitement.”
His sons know their dad can’t be there for every game, but they appreciate it when he is in the stands.
“It’s nice,” said Ben, a sophomore for the Bengals. “I always look up and I see him there and it’s nice seeing him here. It’s good.”
As a father and a coach, sometimes giving advice to his sons is tricky.
“When they want to talk about their performance or what it is they need to improve on,” Krystkowiak said. “I usually preface it with do you want me to answer that question with my father perspective, or do you want to have that question answered from a coaching perspective?”
So which easier to handle, the dad answer or the coach answer?
“The dad answer is easier,” Ben said. “But the coach answer helps me more.”
“The dad answer for sure,” Luc agreed. “I mean, both. Coaching and being a dad, it’s like the same.”
“If you’ve got the coach face on all the time, there’s always a risk that they don’t see the risk that they don’t see that you love them and you’re their parent,” Krystkowiak said.”
Being Krystkowiaks, Ben and Luc do hear their share of heckling from opposing fans.
“I’ve heard, ‘Daddy’s boy, daddy’s watching’ like Luc heard tonight,” Ben said. “I heard, ‘BYU’ against Riverton. I was shooting free throws at the end of the game, and they were chanting, ‘BYU!’
Does that one hurt the most?
“No, I was laughing,” he said.
Does the heckling fire the boys up?
“Yeah, it does,” Luc said. “But it doesn’t make sense because I’m more of a mama’s boy, if anything.”
Larry remembered one specific game at Timpview High where the fans were giving it to his son.
“They were yelling at him, ‘Oh, your dad is never going to offer you,’ he said. “So he got to have some fun. He hit a three, and then he got over in the crowd’s face. I’m like, ‘Dude, you really don’t need to bring that on yourself.'”
If you think Krystkowiak goes gets as riled up in the stands as he does on the sideline, it’s actually his wife Jan who is the loudest at games.
“It’s my mom,” Ben said with a smile. “My mom is yelling at the bench all the time. My dad is the quiet one, he talks to us after the game. My mom is yelling during the game.”
“Oh yeah,” Luc agreed. “My mom is crazy.”