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Utah State’s Craig Smith accepts head coaching position with Utah MBB

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah has hired Utah State’s Craig Smith as its next head basketball coach, Athletic Director Mark Harlan announced Saturday morning.

“Craig Smith brings incredible energy and passion, and a proven record of success,” Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to have him lead our men’s basketball program, and look forward to our student-athletes experiencing his incredible work ethic, dedication to being a teacher of the game, and his ability to relate with his players and help them achieve their greatest potential.”

The 48-year-old Smith has been at Utah State for three seasons, leading the Aggies to two NCAA tournaments and three top-two finishes in the Mountain West Conference.

The Aggies earned an 11-seed in this year’s NCAA tournament after making a run to the conference tournament title game. They lost to Texas Tech in the first round.

“My family and I are thrilled to join the University of Utah and the community of Salt Lake City,” Smith said in a statement. “… This program has a rich tradition of excellence in the history of college basketball. Our facilities are state-of-the-art and first-class in every way. Our fan base has tremendous energy, knowledge and passion. We can’t wait to pack the Huntsman Center, feed off the energy of The MUSS and bring a consistent winner back to the U!”

Smith also spent four seasons as the head coach at South Dakota, winning 48 games in his final two years with the Coyotes. He also won a Summit League regular-season title in 2017.

Utah had discussions with two NBA assistant coaches who played at Utah. Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Knicks Associate Head Coach Johnnie Bryant. Both opted to stay in the Association.

Smith replaces Larry Krystkowiak, who was dismissed on March 16 after 10 seasons with the Utes.


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