Gonzaga's Krause Will Be On Bench Opposite Alma Mater Saturday
Oct. 30, 2008
SPOKANE, Wash. - Don't be surprised if a little smile doesn't come across the face of Jerry Krause during Saturday's men's basketball exhibition between Gonzaga University and Wayne State College of Nebraska.
The director of basketball operations for the Bulldogs figures he owes his seat on the Gonzaga bench largely in part to Wayne State.
You see, the Wildcats are his alma mater.
After nearly three years at the University of Nebraska trying to pursue a degree and a career in engineering, Krause decided to transfer from the Lincoln, Neb., university.
"I tried to walk on to the basketball program at Lincoln, but it was too big for me. I was a small town boy," Krause said while reflecting on his collegiate days.
A friend was attending Wayne State and "I was looking for a home. It turned out to be a great place for me," Krause said.
His first impression of Wayne State is one he fondly recalls today.
"I was about a week late for the start of classes. The Dean registered me and walked me around and introduced me to every instructor," Krause recalled.
With a math and science background from his Nebraska days, Krause majored in math with a minor in science and physical education.
And he walked on to the basketball team and played two years of junior varsity.
It was at Wayne State his love of basketball and his desire to become a coach blossomed.
"I had a good JV coach," he said of Carl Ellermeier. "He took me under his wing and he's one of the main reasons I went into coaching. He was interested in affecting the player's lives. He coached you both on and off the court and was interested in developing the total person."
His fondest memory of Wayne State is the family atmosphere.
"It's the same thing I like about Gonzaga," Krause said. "I felt comfortable there. That's what attracted me to Gonzaga. I think the small public schools and the private institutions have that family atmosphere you don't find at the bigger state or private schools."
Krause, who has dedicated his entire life since his Wayne State days to coaching, has been active on the national collegiate basketball scene for years. He was a long-standing member of the NCAA Rules Committee, was on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and served on the Selection Committee of the National Basketball Hall of Fame. He still serves as Research Chair of the NABC. In 2003 the NABC honored him at the Final Four with its Guardians of the Game for Advocacy Award for his research in developing a standardized rim testing program. In 1998 he received the NABC's Cliff Wells Appreciation Award.
He is in the NAIA Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, the National Association for Sports and Physical Education Hall of Fame and the Eastern Washington University Athletic Hall of Fame. He had a 17-year head coaching career at EWU. In December, 2006, he was recognized with the Baden Battle in Seattle basketball award which honors a person who has made lifelong contributions to basketball in Washington and the Pacific Northwest.
But in spite of all his honors surrounding basketball, one he received outside the sport might be one he cherishes the most. Last December the 1959 graduate of Wayne State College received the Alumni Achievement Award. The award was presented at the 2007 Winter Commencement with Krause as the commencement speaker.
"I guess they ran out of names," the humble Krause laughed when asked his reaction when notified of the award. "I didn't think I did anything that great. I didn't think they rewarded you for the 6-year plan to graduate."
But it was at that commencement Krause and WSC basketball coach Rico Burkett began talking about an exhibition game.
"At dinner Coach Burkett asked me to speak to his team and we started talking about playing. He said if there was any chance that could happen they would come out and play," Krause said.
The rest, as they say, is history.
And Saturday, Krause may sit back and reflect on his days in 2,500-seat Rice Auditorium on the WSC campus, home of the Wildcats.
"It was the same as it was when I played there," Krause said of his visit last December, "although they currently have a renovation project underway to gut it and refurbish it. They have a new rec center next door which is their practice facility.
"But the entire campus, obviously, has grown since I went there. We didn't even have a campus dining hall or a campus meal plan. We ate downtown in restaurants or at the one hamburger place on campus. Now they have a new student center."
But Krause wouldn't change his days at Wayne State for anything.
"It was family," he says with a smile.
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