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'The minute I walked on the floor it was magic': Jerry Krause reflects on Hall of Fame career at EWU and Gonzaga

Krause is one of nine inductees into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in the class of 2022.

SPOKANE, Wash. — On Wednesday, longtime Eastern Washington head coach and Gonzaga Director of Basketball Operations, Jerry Krause found out he's part of the 2022 Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction class.

"You know, I have one complaint is you have to wait about 20, 30, or 40 years before you can earn that right. They didn't tell me about that," said Krause with a laugh.

It's been a longtime coming for Jerry Krause. 17 years spent at Eastern Washington as a head coach where he won 292 games and built the Eagles from the ground up. He oversaw a jump from NAIA to Division II and later to Division I.

After EWU, Krause spent 20 years at Gonzaga as the Director of Basketball Operations helping turn the Kennel into what it is today.

"I remember when we had our first game in here," said Krause. "You could take a basketball, you could try to throw it to the other bleachers and you'd have to be a real good marks person in order to hit somebody because there was nobody there!" 

Through his advanced analytics, Krause helped another program blossom. 

A remarkable basketball career that almost didn't begin when he was student teaching in Iowa.

"I just thought, 'I don't even know if I like teaching let alone coaching!' And then, I'm not kidding you, the minute I walked on the floor and the minute I started interchanging and exchanging things with players and other coaches it was magic. It was like I knew it the first week of my first year and I've never lost that satisfaction since," said Krause.

The "magic" for him wasn't about wins or losses. It was about being the person he needed in his life early on.

"My dad committed suicide when I was four and my mother died when I was born, so I really didn't have any mentors and when I got them it was just a true blessing," said Krause. "That's why I've been so hung up on the value of mentoring because I know that saved my life and made my career and there's no doubt."

With Wednesday's announcement, Krause was flooded with messages of congratulations from former co-workers and players. Providing proof that he was the man he wanted to be.

A life worthy of the Hall of Fame.

"Guys who I didn't even know knew I existed and they said 'you changed my life," said Krause. "That's pretty sobering and really a great sense of thankfulness and gratitude for that."

 

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