Former Eastern Washington University head basketball coach Jerry Krause was inducted into the Inland Empire Sports Hall of Fame in ceremonies held at the Spokane Arena, Oct. 22.
He joined golfer Gary Lindeblad; Pat Falloon, former Spokane Chiefs hockey standout; Bobby Brett, Chiefs and Indians owner and 1920s Olympian Carl Johnson – as people who earned enshrinement in the hall.
And while Krause, currently the director of basketball operations at Gonzaga University, got his cubicle at the Arena containing memorabilia for his decades of coaching, as well as writing on basketball, it's his teaching that holds the most special place in his heart.
"As I said at the induction it's difficult to be recognized locally because people tend to take local people for granted," Krause said. "You aren't an expert until you get out of town."
That's something Krause did a number of times, once during a sabbatical he took while at EWU in the 1982-83 season where he completed two books while serving as an assistant coach for the legendary Ralph Miller at Oregon State University. Those were the first of 34, with the 35th currently in the works, plus 33 basketball videos.
Krause's latest career move was one he started under the difficult circumstances of having been fired at Eastern amidst the move from NAIA to NCAA athletics in the mid-1980s. Krause did not agree it was the right course. He was offered a job the day after he was fired at EWU by former GU head coach and athletic director, the late Dan Fitzgerald.
Krause carried his emphasis on education to Gonzaga where he’s proved that it mixes well with a top-25 elite program.
“All of them know about my emphasis on what you do with you college education,” Krause said.
“The two we had last year really exemplified that for me” and were Mike Hart, who finished his masters degree and Kelly Olynyk who was only one of two All Americans – academic and athletic – Gonzaga has ever had,” Krause said. The other was Dan Dickau.
Krause called them “poster-men for what I believe is the value of college athletics.”
Those values were cultivated largely in Cheney where Krause served as head basketball coach at Eastern Washington State College for 17 seasons from 1967-85, compiling a 262-195 record, most without the benefit of having scholarships. His work at Eastern earned him a place in the school's hall of fame too.
"Being in Eastern Washington's (University) Hall of Fame was meaningful because I got fired there – that was probably a unique combination," Krause said. "Then to be validated in the Northwest for all the stuff I've done here – at Eastern Washington, Gonzaga and throughout the Pacific Northwest – that's especially meaningful."
Krause earned his bachelor's degree from Wayne State University in 1959, as well as his master's degree (1965) and doctorate (1967) from the University of Northern Colorado. So he's put huge value on both his education, and that of some former students.
"I might look at coaching a little different being one of John Wooden's mentees," Krause said. "He said we all should aspire to become a master teacher and that should be reflected in our players."
Krause was part of a team that helped graduate over 82 percent of the players. "That's far above the graduation rate for just college students," Krause said.
"With “With the demands of playing basketball at Eastern Washington – and when I coached we only had a couple of years when we had scholarships – these were student athletes in the truest sense,” Krause said.
Among those who stand out in his Eastern career are hall-of-fame coaches in their own right.
The late Wayne Gillman, a Washington Coaches Hall-of-Fame member and a winner of multiple state titles, along with Jack Cleghorn, who went on to Oregon to coach and won five state championships are examples. The two were co-captains on Krause's first EWSC team in 1967.
Another notable was Ron Cox, an NAIA All-American all four years he attended Eastern is probably the example of the small school guy who got the most out of his Eastern Washington experience.
"He was the pride of Coulee City," Krause said. Cox learned his teaching and coaching craft from Krause and spent his life after Eastern in education and coaching.
Still another was Eddie Waters, whose mother, Maxine Waters, is the U.S. Representative for California's 43rd congressional district. Waters came to Eastern from Crenshaw High in Los Angeles where he was a teammate of Marques Johnson, the 1975 college basketball player of the year, and a future NBAer.
Waters was on the same teams as Cox and was on track to graduate when a glitch popped up.
"I discovered midway through the (final) quarter he had dropped a required class and would be short three credits for graduation," Krause said. "I can pick that up anywhere," Waters told Krause.
Following in his mother's footsteps by pursuing a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, Waters portrayed himself as a graduate of EWSC. A reporter found out otherwise and "It torpedoed his political ambitions," Krause said.
But Waters' roadblock soon became a pathway to the future. That three-credit class missing from his transcripts resulted in a year-and-a-half return to college to earn his degree. Later, Krause got a call from Waters to tell him he had returned to Crenshaw to coach.
"The real worth of your career is what they do 20 years later," Krause said.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.