Krikorian named CMHS boys' basketball coach

As a musician, Dan Krikorian is always looking to play his next gig.

He just landed a big one on Tuesday and it has nothing to do with his band.

What Krikorian heard was still music to his ears. His first varsity head coaching job will be with the boys' basketball team at Costa Mesa High, his alma mater.

The timing couldn't have worked out any better for Krikorian. A week after performing in town, the 27-year-old found out Tuesday he was going to lead a new group of players on a different stage.

Being at the helm was the only way Krikorian could see himself back on the court with the Mustangs. The opportunity arose after Bryan Rice stepped down as coach last month after four seasons.

"I just want to stress that I'm honored and excited to continue the work that Bryan did the last four years," said Krikorian, who spent three of those seasons under Rice. "I have talked to [Rice]. He's been very supportive of me and has congratulated me.

"I was sad for him when he stepped away."

While on tour with his band in Wyoming, Krikorian said he heard from Rice and his decision to leave Costa Mesa. Rice resigned because the school did not have a full-time teaching opening for him.

At the same time, Krikorian thought about applying for the job vacated by Rice.

The move put Krikorian in a coaching game of musical chairs. In March, he said he left his position as an assistant coach with the Mustangs to become an assistant with the Chapman University men's basketball program.

Leaving the Mustangs, he said, was tough. The decision to return was as well.

Krikorian earned a good job with Chapman University, which he played for before graduating from the school five years ago. He's also close to the coaching staff, having played for Mike Bokosky, the current coach.

What influenced Krikorian's decision was his love for Costa Mesa, its program and being able to run the Mustangs.

Costa Mesa is also coming off its best season, in terms of most wins in the program's history. Krikorian played a vital role to helping the team win 19 games and its first CIF Southern Section playoff game in seven seasons.

"Giving up the opportunity I had at Chapman was big," Krikorian said, "but the opportunity to come back to your alma mater and to be a part of that program and continue what me and Bryan had worked on together the past three years, it was tough to turn down."

Phil D'Agostino, the school's principal, said he's grateful that Krikorian is back in the fold.

He called Krikorian the best fit for the program because he played for the Mustangs, leading them to their first league title 11 years ago, and he coached them. As for Krikorian's music career, D'Agostino wasn't sure where that was taking his walk-on coach next.

The next two days in Krikorian's schedule are free. He said he plans to spend them following the last two days of Costa Mesa's summer program.

Come Friday, Krikorian and his folk rock band, named after him, hit the road for 10 days. The band has seven shows in cities like Sacramento, Chico and Seattle.

Juggling singing, the guitar and coaching will not be easy. When he's not doing any of those three things, he tutors and works as a legal secretary for an attorney a couple of days during the week.

"It's a tight schedule," Krikorian said with a laugh. "The timing and scheduling with my music was a concern of mine and it weighed heavily in the process. The staff at Costa Mesa is well aware of my hectic schedule and is supportive."

The two varsity assistants are in tune with Costa Mesa's new leader. Brian Molina and Krikorian's younger brother, Tony, have coached with Krikorian in the past.

Krikorian's band members were well aware of his new pursuit, all while trying to finish a fourth album.

"My poor band heard every side of the story of what I wanted to do," said Krikorian, who told his band that he might be applying for the Costa Mesa job once the band returned home on July 6 from a seven-act, 10-day tour through Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. "The band was very supportive of whatever decision I made.

"My band knows I coach and play music to relax."

david.carrillo@latimes.com

Twitter: DCPenaloza

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