University of Utah men's basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak announced Tuesday that former Utes point guard and current assistant coach Tommy Connor has been named associate head coach.
"Tommy's experience as a head coach is something that I value greatly, and so I think the time is right to promote him to associate head coach," Krystkowiak said."His passion and love for the game, this team, and the University of Utah is something I share."
Connor just completed his third year as an assistant coach in his second stint with the Utes. Connor, a four-year starter for the Runnin' Utes at point guard, graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science in 1990. He spent three years as a graduate assistant and another four years as an assistant coach at Utah under former head coach Rick Majerus. During his time on the bench, Connor helped guide Utah to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight as well as the NIT "Final Four," while capturing four Western Athletic Conference championships.
"I am humbled and appreciate the support and recognition from Coach Krystkowiak in making this decision," Connor stated. "I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with Larry and our staff at the University of Utah and have great confidence in the direction the program is headed."
After leaving the University of Utah, Connor became the head coach at Westminster College, a position he held for 12 years. He led the Griffins to a 264-114 (.698) overall record, while tallying a 126-40 (.759) mark in Frontier Conference play. Those numbers become more impressive when considering that Connor built the program from scratch after it was reinstated prior to the 1999-2000 season. The Griffins won seven regular-season Frontier Conference championships and two conference tournament titles. Connor was a five-time Frontier Conference Coach of the Year, and his teams qualified for nine NAIA National Championship appearances.
"Tommy is an invaluable member of our staff, just like all the other coaches I'm fortunate to work with on a daily basis," Krystkowiak added. "I'm very lucky to be surrounded by coaches who practice what we preach and buy in to the team mentality."
For Utah fans, Connor's promotion may settle some nerves with fans who worry about a potential departure of Krystkowiak to the NBA. Connor was favored among some for the head coaching position that eventually went to Coach K. As a former Runnin' Utes star, Connor is a Utah man, and later learned under two excellent coaches, as well as been the son of a coach himself.