CHENEY, Wash. — Whether he was coaching kids at summer camps, mentoring coaches, writing books, helping tweak the rules of basketball, teaching as a professor or coaching some of the best teams and players in school history, Dr. Jerry Krause spent decades and decades serving Eastern Washington University and beyond.
It’s the way legendary careers are made, and ones that are never forgotten.
A driving force in the game of basketball throughout his life, that life of service came to an end on May 24 when Krause succumbed to cancer at the age of 87. Plans for a service to honor Krause have yet to be announced.
An innovator, leader and teacher throughout his life in basketball, Krause was head men’s basketball coach for the Eagles for 17 seasons from 1967-85, compiling a 262-195 record. He was inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.
“Jerry was the most influential and impactful person in my life, second only to my parents,” said Ron Cox, who was an All-American under Krause in the mid-1970’s and a Hall of Fame inductee in 1998.
Eastern was affiliated with NAIA for most of the seasons Krause was at the helm, just before the Eagles moved to NCAA Division II and eventually Division I in the early 1980’s. In the 1993-94 season, he served as a volunteer assistant coach for former Eastern head coach John Wade.
Krause’s best season at Eastern was a 25-4 finish in 1976-77 when Eastern came one victory away from a berth in the NAIA Tournament. But the source of his greatest pride was as an educator, as 81 percent of his players received their bachelor’s degrees.
“He was the perfect coach and mentor for me,” praised Cox, who came to Eastern from tiny Coulee City, Wash. “His instruction of fundamental skills was what I needed to develop as a player, but all the other intangibles like hard work, dedication, respect, self-confidence, positive mental attitude, drive, were all things that carried over to every aspect of my life.
“Those are easy things to tell people that matter, but when you live it like he did, you know its real,” Cox added.
Cox was a member of that 1976-77 team, which was inducted into Eastern’s Hall of Fame in 2016. Also inducted that year was Krause’s star point guard from that squad, Ed Waters. His mother, Maxine Waters, a congresswoman representing California’s 43rd District, returned for the event, which included a dinner for the team hosted by Krause and his wife, Cathy, at their home at Fish Lake outside Cheney.
But just a few short years after that, Krause was diagnosed with colon cancer after having undergone heart surgery. He battled the disease for three years and was able make it to Kansas City, Mo., last Nov. 20 to receive the prestigious honor of being selected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Cox was there to support his mentor at the enshrinement.
“He displayed all his greatest qualities and more the last 3-4 years,” said Cox. “He was amazing in his fight against cancer. I saw him last at his Hall of Fame induction in Kansas City, and we had breakfast the next morning and said our goodbyes. It was always a handshake, but this time I gave him a hug, thanked him for all he did for me and told him I loved him.
“I will miss him.”
Ray Giacoletti became Eastern’s head basketball coach in 2000 and got to know Krause when he was serving as a long-time professor for nearly three decades in EWU’s department of health, physical education and recreation. Now retired and living in Florida, Giacoletti had continued to reach out until the final weeks of Krause’s life.
“He was such a kind man, starting when I first met him in 2000 when I took the EWU job,” said Giacoletti, who would guide Eastern to the 2004 NCAA Basketball Tournament and the NIT the year prior. “He took time to give me the history of EWU basketball, and the University. He always had time for questions or to talk basketball.”
Giacoletti would later be reunited with Krause at Gonzaga under head coach Mark Few. Giacoletti was an assistant coach and Krause was director of basketball of operations, a position he held from 2001-2015. It was those years at GU when Giacoletti truly understood the importance Krause had on collegiate basketball.
“His life’s work was giving to the game of basketball,” said Giacoletti. “How to make it better, how to teach it better and how to help coaches be better. He was the first person I ever heard talk about analytics; he was way ahead of the game.”
Beyond his service to EWU and GU, Krause wrote dozens of books, created videos and made countless clinic appearances to share his knowledge of the game. He also served on the NCAA rules committee and the NAIA research committee for decades.
Years before all the honors started flowing in and just as his career was getting started, Krause was the director of EWU’s extensive summer camp program — the “EWU Screaming Eagle Camp” — in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. One camper, Andrew Fowler, reflected 20 years later in his adulthood on that positive experience as a youth.
“The life skills I learned combined with the excellent physical training I received have enriched my life tremendously,” he said in a letter sent to EWU back in 2001. “One thing I’ve always reflected upon is a short phrase which has stayed with me over the years: ‘if it’s to be, it’s up to me.'”
“It is very fitting that he was just inducted into the college basketball hall of fame,” added Giacoletti. “I know Mark Few worked hard with that. The game of college basketball owes coach Krause a debt of gratitude, because of his willingness to give back to the game.”
(Special thanks to longtime EWU Sports Information Director Dave Cook for contributing to this story.)
The impact on the sport of basketball of Jerry Krause reached far beyond coaching.
He was chair of the National Association of Basketball Coaches research committee, which he served on for more than 30 years. He was formerly a long-standing member of the NCAA Rules Committee, served on the NABC Board of Directors and was on the selection committee for the National Basketball Hall of Fame.
He has also authored 30 books, including a compilation of articles by the nation’s top college coaches published as part of the 100th anniversary of basketball. During a sabbatical in the 1982-83 season, Krause completed two books while serving as an assistant for Ralph Miller at Oregon State University.
In summer 2005, Krause completed “Lessons from the Legends,” a capstone trio of books on Naismith Hall of Fame coaches. The book “Basketball Skills and Drills,” originally published as “Better Basketball Basics” in 1983, is considered to be the most widely-used basketball fundamentals book in the world. In fact, Hall of Fame Coach Mike Kryzyzewski wrote the foreword for the book’s fourth edition.
He has also produced dozens of instructional videos, DVD’s and CD’s, and served as a consultant to many athletic organizations. Most of his works are available at the website coachjerrykrause.com.
Krause spent nearly 30 years at EWU as a faculty member, then worked at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York. He returned to the Spokane area in the summer of 2001 to serve as Director of Men’s Basketball Operations at Gonzaga, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the men’s basketball office, scheduling, coordinating on-campus recruiting, player evaluations and video operations. He left that position in 2015, but went on to serve as a volunteer assistant in the GU women’s basketball program.
Krause received his bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in 1959, and both his master’s degree (1965) and doctorate (1967) from the University of Northern Colorado.
Among the many honors he has won in his career, he was selected to the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2000, and the same year was inducted into the National Association For Sport and Physical Education Hall of Fame. In 1998, Krause received the prestigious NABC Cliff Wells Appreciation Award for his lifetime contributions to basketball.
In addition, in 2003 Krause received a “Guardians of the Game for Advocacy Award” from the National Association of Basketball Coaches for his research in developing a standardized rim testing program. In 2001 he was honored by UNC with an Alumni Achievement Award for Contribution to Sport, an honor given to alumni who have excelled in mentoring or role modeling while working with students in sport.
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