Through all of the D-League coaches fired and hired this offseason, the Idaho job has been open for awhile (former coach Bryan Gates moved to the NBA back in July), and the search has been a fairly quiet affair - they didn't let the media vote on candidates, for instance. RU has learned, though, that the search is essentially down to two candidates - Larry Krystkowiak and Bob MacKinnon. A decision should be coming sometime relatively soon (standout commenter/unofficial RU Idaho correspondent Rumble thought it might've happened last week, for example), so let's take a look at these two coaches' backgrounds.
With a lot of coaches like Larry Krystkowiak, his two years in the NBA coaching the Milwaukee Bucks would be the main draw. However, he also has the unique distinction of having coached the Stampede before, back when they were in the CBA. It was his first head coaching job, and the Stampede went to the CBA championship. He left after just one year, though to coach at the University of Montana (where he had started his coaching career as an assistant). He stayed there for two years, and his team upset the #5 seed (Nevada) the second year. The NBA came calling after that, and he was hired as an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks under Terry Stotts. Krystkowiak was promoted after Stotts was fired early in the 2006-2007 season, and lasted through the end of the following season. Krystkowiak also brings playing experience to the table, having been a second round pick in the 1986 NBA Draft and spending nine years in the NBA.
Bob MacKinnon has seen his name attached to a few of this offseason's coaching vacancies after winning the D-League championship last year with the Colorado 14ers. MacKinnon has coached at the collegiate level as well, serving as an assistant at Marshall, George Washington University, Notre Dame and UNC among others (under Matt Doherty at the last two) along with being the head coach at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (where he won two conference championships). Before working in Colorado, MacKinnon was a scout for the Lakers and helped run their summer training camps.
Either of these candidates would be a solid hire for the Stampede, though they each have their own drawbacks as well. Krystkowiak is familiar with the Idaho organization and is from the (general) area, and while the Bucks job didn't work out, he enjoyed some success at his other head coaching positions. However, he's never seemed to last anywhere more than a few seasons, and while D-League coaches getting hired by the NBA is a good thing, the Stampede may not want to have to hire another coach next year, especially since Krystkowiak himself has left them after one season already. MacKinnon coached the reigning D-League champions and brings scouting experience to the table, and he has an existing working relationship with the Denver Nuggets, who the Stampede are now affiliated with. Last year was his first head coaching job in a decade, though and the stacked 14ers roster played a part in that championship, too. There's also the question of his not being hired in Bakersfield because he reportedly had already taken another position elsewhere, so his sudden reappearance as a D-League coach in Idaho might generate some ill will (though that's not really Idaho's business to worry about).