After graduating from Kansas in 2005, Jarris Krapcha struggled on how to apply his recently earned bachelor's degree in journalism.
First, he tried his hand as a complex claims manager for an insurance company. Two years later, he followed his father's footsteps and became a police officer on the Leawood (Kan.) force.
But something was missing for this all-district basketball player at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque. He finally figured it out and went back to school at Kansas to earn a master's degree in physical education.
Then, last summer, he landed his first opportunity as a head coach, taking over the Mitchell boys' program.
"I had to find something I could do for the next 30 years, but I wanted to be happy, too," said Krapcha, pronounced (CRAP-shaw), a surname of Polish heritage. "So many people aren't happy. When I was on the force, I still missed basketball and wanted to get involved in coaching. I think I've finally found my way."
Prior to landing at Mitchell, the 30-year-old cut his teeth as an assistant women's basketball coach at Johnson County Community College. After three seasons, an opportunity presented itself, not terribly far from his wife Elisa's stomping grounds in Littleton.
His college coaching background, in combination with his previous endeavors, caught the eye of Mitchell athletic director Brett Williams.
"He had college experience, and he had a background with the public, dealing with situations," Williams said. "He's new at being a head coach of a boys' basketball team, but he's not new at dealing with situations and thinking on his feet."
Mitchell, off to an 0-2 start, hosts 4-0 Falcon at 7 p.m. Thursday. Despite the early-season struggles of implementing new philosophies to a young team with an influx of new players from Wasson, Krapcha knows how to keep things in perspective.
He just has to remember what he used to do for a living.
"As a police officer, you're put into so many unknown, high-stress situations," Krapcha said. "When you deal with that type of stuff, it prepares you for everything. It helps you grow as a person, and I just feel that nothing I'll encounter at Mitchell or anything in the world that will faze me much."
Despite recent struggles - Mitchell has 10 wins over the past two seasons - the addition of Krapcha seems to have rejuvenated the hopes of those who wondered about the direction of the program.
"It's hard starting over with a new coach, but he's really pushing us a lot, and that makes us work harder, and that's what gets us wins," Mitchell junior Keven Rovnan said. "We didn't get that push last year. Now that we have a coach like that, we're looking forward to getting a championship, and we're trying to get there.
"He's doing a lot for us. We just have to keep working hard."