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Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak turns to stopping crime

Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Utah men's basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak chased down a bike thief on campus in September.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Utah's Larry Krystkowiak is taking his coaching example off the court. He has become quite the crime stopper.

Last month in Salt Lake City, Krystkowiak - a 6-foot-9 former NBA power forward - chased down and apprehended a bike thief on campus.

''It was a fun week for us,'' Krystkowiak recalled Thursday. ''We got a couple of thieves, a bike thief and then another man that had stolen 17 laptops from our athletic department.''

Krystkowiak's tale quickly became a hot topic of conversation at Pac-12 media day Thursday, where California coach Mike Montgomery insisted he would have no chance of pulling off a similar defensive stop across San Francisco Bay in Berkeley.

''If I was built and looked like Krysto, I would probably tackle him, wrestle him to the ground, sit on him, like he did,'' Montgomery said. ''As it is, I'd probably wish him well. I hope that computer works for him.''

With NCAA rules now allowing coaches to start practice early and more offseason on-court time with players, Krystkowiak said he now has a little bit of spare time in his day to accomplish such successes away from the practice floor.

The third-year Utah coach was headed to work early one morning late last month when he saw a cyclist carrying another bike. The 49-year-old, 220-pound coach approached him, called campus police and told the man to sit on the sidewalk.

''With the practice changing a little bit, having six weeks to get 30 practices in, it allows your coaches to step out and take on some other career opportunities,'' Krystkowiak said. ''So, we had an awful lot of fun with that. It's good to have people behind bars.''

So, who would play the crime-stopping coach in a movie? Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith Show, of course.

''I just always liked Barney,'' he said. ''Thought he was something special and always managed to step in a little pile of something, it seemed like, whenever he had an opportunity.''

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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