Celeste McAtee offers a brief biography of the returning coach.
In March 2022, the University of Tulsa announced Eric Konkol as the 31st head coach for the TU men’s basketball program. Konkol, who most recently served as head coach for Louisiana Tech University, comes with an impressive record: during his seven-year span at LA Tech, he finished with 153 career victories, making him the third highest-scoring coach in LA Tech history. His awards include 2021 Conference USA Coach of the Year, NABC District 11 Coach of the Year, LABC Louisiana Major College Coach of the Year and LSWA Louisiana Coach of the Year.
Coming from Amherst, Wisconsin, Konkol began his college basketball career in 1995 when he played for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville before moving to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1997, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology while continuing to play basketball. He has also held assistant coaching positions at the University of Miami, George Mason University and even the University of Tulsa as a student assistant in the 2000-2001 season. During his assistantship with Tulsa, the TU team went on to win the NIT championship.
How does Konkol feel about returning to TU after more than two decades away?
“Excited and honored,” he revealed in his opening remarks as TU head coach. “This is the place where it really all started for me,” he shared, hinting at nostalgia. “This was a transformative time for me. I came here just interested in trying to become a basketball coach. I left here with an invaluable experience of seeing a university, a group of special players, in a community, all intertwined and aligned, to create something special. And that’s what we’re here to do again.”
In his first press conference, he announced his commitment to “relentlessly recruit” new talent and develop “one of the most electric home court environments in the country,” quickly winning the hearts of fans eager for a renewal of the program.
TU students look forward to this “electric home court.” Avid TU athletics fan Freddy Ward (senior) shares his excitement for the upcoming basketball season.
“Coach Konkol has brought new energy in to revive our basketball program and give it new life! I have no doubt he will play a big role in this TU renaissance.”
This welcome enthusiasm for Konkol’s leadership fits within TU’s wider efforts to revive student and community investment in TU athletics. President Brad Carson commented on this new era for TU, highlighting both the legacy of TU men’s basketball as well as his hope for the upcoming seasons.
“Going back decades, our student-athletes have been successful on the court and in the classroom. Eric Konkol has a record of recruiting, coaching and mentoring young men to be the best they can be and to lift their teams to new heights. I have no doubt he will bring that same level of dedication, energy and ambition to TU.”
The TU men’s basketball season will kick off in early November, promising to pump vigor back into the program. While there is sure talent in both the coaching staff and players, the success of the team depends on one other factor: student and community support.
“We need all you, now,” Konkol reminded TU fans at the close of his opening remarks. “[We need] a unified toughness—a unified togetherness.”