During 38 years of coaching, Denton’s Dennis Krishka took a different approach to the game of basketball. He established the framework of a team through several avenues, not taking the abrasive route of some of his mentors, while taking pride in his ability to build a program.
After eight years as the girls head coach at Denton, Krishka has decided his time of building has come to an end and he plans to retire at the end of the school year.
Splitting time between Denton and his hometown of Baileys Harbor, Wis., Krishka has decided to move back to Wisconsin, where he works at a golf course part time.
“It’s hard to step away,” Krishka said. “It will be a lot easier to when I step on that golf course than it is right now. [Golf] was a great way for me to unwind after a school year, but this job is becoming a lot more 24/7, 365, and I feel like in the past few years I haven’t done it justice enough. I’ve been fortunate enough to have great assistants. That plays a big part in it.”
Krishka made several stops before Denton High, and he learned early on that in order to be successful he needed to be willing to bend his coaching philosophy to fit each team.
“When I first started out, I used a philosophy from one of my old coaches, and he only coached one way,” Krishka said. “It was kick-you-in-the-fanny style and get you rolling. That was it. If you don’t learn to adjust to society and the way you handle people, then you’re not going to survive in this business.
“When you talk about motivation and dealing with different types of people, it’s something that’s always evolving, depending on the type of people you’re working with. A lot of it is being able to push the right buttons.”
After coaching at Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Texas Wesleyan and several high schools, Krishka coached at Crowley Middle School and then North Crowley High School until 2004. Then he moved back to Wisconsin, where he coached at Sevastopol while tending to his ailing mother.
After two years, Krishka decided it was back to Texas.
“Home wasn’t home anymore,” Krishka said. “I asked my wife, ‘Do you want to go back to Texas?’ I started applying for a couple jobs. I came down and interviewed for Denton and a couple other ones at the same time. They offered me the job the same day I interviewed, and the rest is history.”
Krishka spent most of his career coaching boys basketball, but during his eight years at Denton and four at North Crowley, he appreciated the transition to coaching girls.
“There was a purity to the game that kind of attracted me,” Krishka said. “The guys game is one where you have tremendous athletes that jump out of the gym, but the execution of fundamentals at the girls level, I thought, was always more important. When I first started coaching the girls, it was a lot more about X’s and O’s. They took a little better to coaching. That was always intriguing, watching them develop.”
In his first year at Denton, the Lady Broncos went 11-1 in district play and 23-11 overall on the way to a district championship with just eight varsity players.
“They were pretty successful before I came here, but nobody expected us to do much,” Krishka said. “We won the district title. That was a really special year. That was a really fun year. My era included that first exciting year and [then] what I called the Guyer years entered into play.”
Likening being a coach with the work of a potter, Krishka said he’ll miss interacting with students.
“That’s kind of what we do in our sports,” Krishka said. “In basketball, you take all these individuals and mold them into a team. That was always the real thrill of it for me. I always loved to see that product flourish and develop over time. I’ll miss the practices, the games and the camaraderie with the players.”
Krishka said he hasn’t ruled out coaching in the future, and come November his heart will be at Denton.
“The program is in pretty solid shape,” Krishka said. “We played a lot of underclassmen this year. We had a freshman team that was very, very successful, so I think somebody is stepping into a pretty decent situation. With the district realigned, I think it puts us in pretty good shape, too. I certainly think they’ll be in the hunt for a playoff spot.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.