Utah State hires former Husker assistant Craig Smith as its basketball head coach

Utah State hires former Husker assistant Craig Smith as its basketball head coach
South Dakota was 26-9 last season under Craig Smith, falling one game short of the NCAA tournament after losing to South Dakota State in the Summit League tournament final. (World-Herald News Service)

Former Nebraska basketball assistant Craig Smith was named the head coach at Utah State on Monday.

Smith will leave South Dakota after four years as the Coyotes’ head coach. He posted a 79-55 record in Vermillion, leading USD to the Summit League regular-season title in 2016-17 before taking the Coyotes to the Summit tournament championship game this season.

An introductory press conference will be held Tuesday on the Utah State campus.

Smith’s career path has included spending time with Nebraska coach Tim Miles at Mayville State, North Dakota State, Colorado State and NU. His lone season with Nebraska was in 2013-14, when the Huskers made the NCAA tournament.

Smith also previously was a head coach at Mayville State from 2005 to 2007, where he won an NAIA II national coach of the year award.

Smith replaces Tim Duryea at Utah State. The Aggies fired Duryea two weeks ago after a 17-17 season — and a three-year record of 47-49.

“Our family and I are pumped to join Utah State University and the community of Logan,” Smith said in a release. “Utah State men’s basketball has tremendous leadership from the top in President (Noelle) Cockett, athletic director John Hartwell, and all the way down. It was easy to see and feel that our visions were aligned when it comes to running a successful basketball program.”

Smith a year ago was named the NABC District 12 coach of the year. He brings experience coaching in the Mountain West from five seasons at Colorado State with Miles.

“Craig Smith has been a colleague and friend of mine for 23 years and he is a terrific hire for Utah State,” Miles said in the Utah State release. “Craig is an exceptional coach and a better man, and I believe he will take Utah State basketball to the top of the Mountain West and keep them there. Craig’s energy and enthusiasm will connect with the campus, the community, and the state of Utah in a way that will make Aggie basketball electric.”

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