From hoops to humming: Coach balances music, basketball

Assistant basketball coach Dan Krikorian has released five albums in his career. His debut album “Oxford Street” came out in 2008 and his most recent album “Grandeur” was released in January 2019. Photo by Jack Clendening

Some may only know Dan Krikorian as an assistant basketball coach for the Chapman Panthers. But, the fingers he uses to point at players during warm-up drills are the same that he uses to pluck at the strings of his guitar.

Krikorian’s interest in music is not a newfound passion. Releasing five albums since his debut “Oxford Street” in 2008, Krikorian has songs on streaming and purchase on iTunes and Spotify. He has toured throughout Germany and the Netherlands, and according to his website, has amassed a following in both the United States and Europe.

Despite the team knowing about his musical interests, Krikorian is known primarily on Chapman’s campus as an assistant coach and a professor of two leadership classes at Chapman’s Fowler School of Law, senior point guard Reed Nakakihara said.

“If you know Coach Dan, you wouldn’t really expect that (musical) side from him,” Nakakihara said. “I think (his music is) just really good. You can tell that it’s something he’s really passionate about.”

Krikorian discovered his love for music while he was a junior student at Chapman himself, he said he simply “stumbled into” the passion.

“I took an intro to guitar class at Chapman, and I fell in love with the guitar,” Krikorian said. “Once I graduated I started to play … one thing led to another and I’ve been at it for 10 years.”

During the basketball off-season and summer, Krikorian is focused on creating music. While he puts music secondary to basketball season, Nakakihara said Krikorian has talked to the team about his music.

“He’s constantly thinking of lyrics and thinking of his songs,” Nakakihara said. “Just hearing that from him was cool, just to know that … he has a very busy day, but at the same time, he’s making time for his hobby and music.”

Krikorian said that while making music can serve as a stress reliever, he simply likes to do it because of his dedication to the art.

“I just genuinely love creating and writing, and there’s just something about making music … everything is done with purpose,” he said. “It’s really special to create stuff.”

Krikorian said his musical style is a blend of folk, pop and rock, especially in his latest album “Grandeur,” a 16-song project released in January 2019. Krikorian said his music is compared to a “John Mayer meets the Lumineers.”

Members of the basketball team, in addition to Krikorian’s 232 monthly Spotify listeners, enjoy his music, which Nakakihara describes as “soothing” and something he listens to while he studies.

While Krikorian said he intends to continue creating music, he doesn’t plan to leave Chapman anytime soon.

“My heart and all my career has been fully invested in Chapman and coaching,” Krikorian said. “Our basketball program is an unbelievable program and I’m hoping that they keep me around.”