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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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Coach Krul’s ideology promotes player’s rebounds from setbacks

Allison Budde
Women’s basketball head coach, Sandrine Krul in her office that overlooks the basketball court on March 22 in the Sports Pavilion at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Krul’s goal is to create a positive experience for the student athletes she coaches.

Women’s basketball head coach Sandrine Krul’s enthusiasm and ideology has shaped City College’s athletic department into a well-rounded program, giving student athletes resources to mental health and academic advisors, and creating balance in their lives. 

Basketball has been a part of Krul’s life since she was 14 years old. Growing up, basketball was the only sport she could afford. 

“I get very emotional because I am not supposed to be here, by society’s standards,” said Krul with tears welling up in her eyes. “I grew up very poor, and from an immigrant family.” 

Due to her upbringing, Krul, known to her athletes as Coach K, understands and sympathizes with the barriers that certain people face. She reminds all her students and athletes that they matter.  

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“I coach players where their skin has been a barrier and I’m their ally,” Krul said. “I’m an ally for minorities, non-binary athletes and students. I’m an ally to let them know that ‘you can make it.’” 

Coach K is understanding of everyone’s unique situation but doesn’t have a tolerance for ego or cockiness. 

“I always say ‘check your ego at the door,’” she explained. “I’m the most competitive person, I was all-state, MVP, all those things.”

Athletic Director LaDeane Hansten appreciates what Krul brings to the table, honoring her dedication to City College’s athletic program. 

“Sandrine cares deeply for her team’s welfare as people first, and is passionate about every aspect of her program,” Hansten said. “She is a great communicator and always makes your day better after running into her.”

Krul played at LA Valley College for their women’s basketball team and then finished her college degree at Cal State University Northridge, earning a bachelors in kinesiology. She then went to Azusa Pacific University acquiring a masters in education with an emphasis in physical education. 

She dedicated her coaching style and success at City College to the education she received at APU, calling it her ‘best education.’

“The degrees set the foundation for everything, I can’t do what I do without it,” Krul described. “Every decision I make, and every coaching decision is based on what I learned in the past.” 

APU taught her that coaching women takes a different approach because they have more barriers. She teaches these women to trust themselves, their coaches, and the process. 

“I care that our women are being empowered, doing well in the classroom, and moving on whether they want to play athletically or academically,” Krul said. “That’s my mission. I do it from a humanistic foundation. My philosophy is humanistic, it’s not about their past  circumstances.”

This is Krul’s 19th year at City College. She was awarded Western State Conference Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2010, and earned the Pat Moorhouse Women’s Coach of the year award for the 2019-2020 season.

Coach Krul's motto: MTXE, "Mental Toughness, Extra Effort" is painted on her office wall in the Sports Pavilion at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Krul's office, on March 22, overlooks the basketball court in the Sports Pavilion, and is full of inspirational messages and quotes.
Coach Krul’s motto: MTXE, “Mental Toughness, Extra Effort” is painted on her office wall in the Sports Pavilion at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Krul’s office, on March 22, overlooks the basketball court in the Sports Pavilion, and is full of inspirational messages and quotes. (Allison Budde)

She earned the 250th win of her career at City College in February 2019 and is only nine games away from achieving her 300th win. Krul couldn’t care less about reaching this monumental benchmark.  

“I’m not going to get more money in my paycheck if I win,” Krul said. “I just want the best for the players.” 

After nearly 20 years at City College, Coach K has developed many catchphrases. The most famous is MTXE: Mental Toughness, Extra Effort. It’s painted on her wall in her office and she even has it tattooed on her foot. 

 “It’s on all our clothes and everything,” Krul said. “It’s what helps them when they feel overwhelmed or stressed, all I have to say is ‘MTXE.’”

One of Coach K’s goals is to implement resilience, grittiness and a growth mindset in the women she coaches. 

“Every player on my team has two golden nuggets a season, because we are a two semester sport,” she said. 

Krul explains that golden nuggets allow players to take a practice off when they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed without losing playing time or their status as starters. 

“It teaches these girls to not compromise your mental health because your physical health needs you to be 100%,” Coach K said. “When I implemented that along with MTXE, they don’t feel like they have to pick and choose.”

She highlighted the fact that without good mental health, physical health becomes irrelevant, and because of this, every season she has started and ended with a full team.

“I try to teach them that their self-worth is not attached to your playing time,” Krul disclosed. 

The team does not practice on the weekends or early mornings to allow players to work, study, or just have time to relax.

“Basketball doesn’t have to be so overwhelming so they quit,” she said. “Their block of work is Monday through Friday, that’s it” 

Krul said that Santa Barbara is one of the hardest places she has coached, but one of the most rewarding. She reminds her players to “find your people.” She knows that a person needs a support system in order to succeed and that a support system will carry you through those tough times. 

Coach K highlighted how uplifting her support system, her fellow P.E. colleagues and coaches are. They call themselves a tribe. 

“We all know how hard it is for a coach. Sometimes we have to drive to Cuesta on Wednesday night for a game and get up the next morning to teach and be there for our students,” Krul explained. “So we’ll say ‘Hey, did you have a coffee today?’ or ‘What can I get you?’ It’s a family for sure.” 

Krul also considers colleagues Kathy O’Connor and Ellen O’Connor her role models. She has looked up to both of them the past 19 years and appreciates how different their coaching styles are. 

“As corny as it sounds, Coach Krul’s perpetual positivity has been a constant source of energy for the department,” Associate Athletic Director Ellen O’Connor stated. “Coaching is a difficult profession that generates emotional ups and downs. Sandrine always sees the bright side of any situation and keeps the focus on moving forward. Her MTXE mantra has been a guiding force for her program and our department.”

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