August 20, 2022

News of Quin Snyder stepping down as head coach of the Utah Jazz earlier this month didn’t come as much of a surprise to former jazz player and BYU basketball star Andy Toolson.

“It seemed like it had been brewing for about a month, that there were questions about whether or not he was coming back,” Toolson said. “It takes a lot of emotion, and if it’s not the right situation, he must have felt it and felt it was time to move on.”

Toolson, who lives in Highland these days, still follows jazz and basketball from Brigham Young University while pursuing his business career and serving as bishop of his congregation of the Church of Jesus- Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“It’s busy,” he says, “I don’t have a lot of free time, but that’s good. I like it and we feel blessed.

Toolson is a partner in a retirement planning firm and the owner of a grocery store in liquidation and a general merchandise business. His retirement planning company recently gave people a free book called “The Power of Zero” to help them achieve a 0% tax bracket.

When he’s not at work or at the local Latter-day Saint Church, he enjoys spending time with his family or bouncing basketballs around while his sons practice shooting. He has a son, Drew Toolson, who will be a sophomore at Long Peak High next year and an eldest son, Tanner Toolson, who has just returned from a mission in Jacksonville, Florida, and is committed to playing for BYU.

The Deseret News recently caught up with Toolson, 56, and discussed several of these topics.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Desert News: How’s life for you these days?

Andy Toolson: I’m feeling lucky. I loved my college basketball experience at BYU, I was lucky enough to be with the Jazz for a few seasons and play (internationally) for 11 years. I feel good physically. We loved our experience and we feel blessed.

Andy and Holly Toolson with their family. These days, the former BYU basketball player is a businessman and a Latter-day Saint bishop in Highland, Utah.

DN: We talked about Quin Snyder leaves the Jazz after eight seasons. Who has been the most influential coach of your career?

To: It was probably my high school coach, John Astorquia.

He took me aside in my sophomore year and told me that if you want to play college basketball, you have to stay in the gym, not play baseball, and dedicate yourself to becoming a better player. He spent hundreds of hours one-on-one with me working on technique and fundamentals, and I will always be grateful to him.

When I played in Europe, I offered to take him with his wife, but he didn’t accept. I really appreciated how much he cared about him. He had a big influence on me and my career.

DN: Your time with the Jazz was short, 1990-91 and 1995-96. What was your best memory of playing with the Jazz?

To: My favorite memories were mostly hanging out with the guys in the locker room, car rides, bus rides, airplanes, laughter and friendships.

I was close to Mark Eaton until his death last year. I stayed in contact with him a lot.

As for the highlight of my basketball career with the Jazz, it was when we beat Detroit in Detroit my rookie year. I hit him a last-minute shot to help us go into overtime and we ended up winning. Detroit won the championship the previous year. It was a game when I really started to believe that I might be able to do it. I ended up going to Europe next year and nothing really came of it, but it was still fun. I started 15-17 games in my freshman year due to injuries and this was one of them, it was fun.

DN: What do you remember the most from the years you played internationally?

To: Wow, there are so many memories. I played for eight different teams in three different countries and had a myriad of experiences.

My favorite memory was winning the Copa del Rey – Copa del Rey – which is kind of a mid-season tournament they organize for the top eight teams in Spain. Our team was lucky to win that year, lost in the final another year. It was weird, mid-season they had a ticker tape parade. We had 10,000 people outside our arena. It was weird because I knew we still had a game to play in three days. One of my teammates said, “Andy, we could lose every game the rest of the year and it would still be a great season. It was strange.

Former BYU basketball player Andy Toolson played a few seasons with the Utah Jazz and 11 seasons in international basketball.

Former BYU basketball player Andy Toolson played a few seasons with the Utah Jazz and 11 seasons in international basketball.

We lived for a few years north of Barcelona. We had a place near the beach and it was great. We loved our life in Spain and our experience there. We had two children born there.

DN: You served a Spanish-speaking mission in Chile, but what was your family’s linguistic and cultural experience?

To: My wife has learned to speak Spanish quite well. Our kids went to American private schools because we didn’t know how long we would be there, so they didn’t really learn much Spanish. But we loved living there, the culture and our friends.

DN: Your son Tanner has just returned from a mission and is preparing to play basketball at BYU. What advice will you give him?

To: Just to compete each day as best you can and enjoy the journey. Enjoy every day because you never know how long it will last with injuries and so on. Be grateful every day.

DN: When you look back on your gaming experience at BYU, what does that mean to you now?

To: It was great. I love the memories of playing at BYU and the friendships with many guys I got to play with. It was a wonderful experience. We still love BYU and what it stands for. We hope this will work for our son Tanner.

Former UVU player Conner Toolson (right), son of former BYU and Utah Jazz player Andy Toolson, hits a 3-pointer against the Grand Canyon in this file photo.

Former UVU player Conner Toolson (right), son of former BYU and Utah Jazz player Andy Toolson, hits a 3-pointer against the Grand Canyon in this file photo.

DN: Who is your other son, Conner Toolsonwho played basketball at Utah Valley University, does these days?

To: He lives in American Fork. He works with me in insurance and retirement planning. He and his wife have two little boys.

He played in Spain last year and in Uruguay for three or four months of the season and was released. He thought it was time to move on.

DN: How has your experience with college and professional basketball helped you in the business world?

To: It’s competitive. As in sport, there are days when you get beaten up and you have to persevere, keep smiling and keep working. There are many similarities and lessons you can apply.

We’ve started this other business, we’re seven months into it and we’ve got a long way to go and hopefully it works out. You work hard every day, just like you did while playing basketball.