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The Utah Utes could be turning to the pro ranks to fill the men's basketball coaching vacancy for the second time in a row.
According to Netsdaily.com, the NBA's New Jersey Nets have given Utah permission to talk to assistant Larry Krystkowiak as Utah athletic director Chris Hill continues his search for a replacement for Jim Boylen.
Nets coach Avery Johnson confirmed to reporters that permission was granted and praised Krystkowiak.
"He's done a great job for us this year," Johnson told Netsdaily.com. "If something were ever to happen for Larry, we'd hate to lose him. And I'll leave it right there."
Krystkowiak, a Montana native who had a stint with the Utah Jazz in 1992-93, began his coaching career at Montana as an assistant before moving on to the head coaching ranks.
His first head coaching job was with the Idaho Stampede of the CBA in 2003-04.
He was hired to coach Montana in 2004 and went 42-20 over two seasons with two NCAA Tournament appearances. Krystkowiak became an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2006 and was named the head coach in 2007. He was fired in 2008 after just one full season with the Bucks, going 26-56. He joined the Nets' coaching staff in July of 2010.
The Utes have searched for a head coach ever since Boylen was fired following his fourth season, in which the Utes went 13-18. He was 69-60 in his four years with the Utes. Boylen spent 13 years in the NBA before joining Michigan State's staff as an assistant from 2005-2007. He was hired in 2007 to replace Ray Giacoletti.
Others linked to the coaching position include Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett and former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried.