Smith went 74-24 in three seasons at the helm in Logan
Craig Smith is headed to Salt Lake City.
According to numerous sources, including CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Utah State men’s basketball head coach Craig Smith is expected to be hired as the next head coach at the University of Utah.
Sources: Utah State's Craig Smith is finalizing a deal to become the next head coach at Utah. Official announcement expected soon.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 27, 2021
According to a report on Friday from Trevor Allen of KSL, Smith became the frontrunner for the position after the University of Utah struck out on its reported top candidates, former Utes and current NBA assistants Alex Jensen and Johnnie Bryant. Smith’s name had also been linked in recent days to the openings at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Minnesota, but it appears the South Dakota native will be staying in the Beehive State.
In three seasons in Logan, Craig Smith amassed a 74-24 record, including two NCAA Tournament appearances and a Mountain West regular season championship. The Aggies finished this season with a 20-9 record, earning a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament before ultimately falling to No. 6 seed Texas Tech. Prior to coming to USU, Smith excelled at the University of South Dakota, compiling a 79-55 record and taking home a Summit League championship in 2017. Now, Smith will head for the potentially-greener pastures of the Pac-12 Conference to replace Larry Krystkowiak, who was fired after ten seasons with the Utes.
Meanwhile, Utah State will now begin its own search for a new head coach. Some names that have been floating around for other jobs may now find themselves in the mix for the gig, including former Nebraska and CSU coach Tim Miles, as well as active coaches such as Abilene Christian’s Joe Golding, North Texas’ Grant McCasland, and Southern Utah’s Todd Simon. More names will surely surface in the coming days.
Time will tell who will replace Craig Smith in Logan, but whoever takes the job will have a big pair of shoes to fill after what Smith pulled off in such a short timespan.
Andrew Dieckhoff is a USBWA member writing about college basketball for Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and The DPI Gradebook presented by Heat Check CBB. Andy is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a graduate of Portland State University. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon.