UTAH UTES

Utah Officially Hires Craig Smith As Next Head Basketball Coach

Mar 27, 2021, 8:41 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2021, 4:18 pm

Craig Smith - Utah Utes...

New Utah Utes head basketball coach Craig Smith. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – University of Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan announced that Craig Smith will be the next head basketball coach.

Craig Smith will take over for Larry Krystkowiak, who spent the last 10 years at the helm of the Runnin’ Utes before he was fired on March 16.

KSL Sports reported yesterday that after Johnnie Bryant pulled his name from consideration Craig Smith became Utah’s top target.

Smith led the Utah State Aggies to the NCAA tournament this season and a Mountain West Championship last season.

More About Craig Smith

Smith is a rising star in the profession. Since becoming the head coach at South Dakota beginning in 2014, it looks like all Smith does is win. When he arrived in Logan, he quickly revived the Aggies basketball program and led the team to three straight Mountain West Tournament Championship game appearances, including two titles.

Smith has quickly adjusted to recruiting on the west coast and is bound to take a job at a higher level program sooner rather than later. His name has been in the rumor mill, linked to the vacant head coaching job at Oklahoma.

Departure Of Larry Krystkowiak

The University of Utah announced the end of former coach Larry Krystkowiak’s time with the Utes on March 16.

Larry Krystkowiak took over the Utah basketball program in 2011, their first season in the Pac-12. He was tasked with making the difficult transition from the Mountain West to the Pac-12, which had its bumps along the way.

In his first season at the helm, Utah went 6-25 overall and 3-15 in conference play. They improved the next season by nine wins in 2012-13. Then they won 21 games in 2013-14, while reaching the NIT.

Led by Delon Wright and Jakob Poeltl, Utah had one of their best seasons in Krystkowiak’s tenure when they posted a 26-9 record and reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Duke.

The following season with Poeltl and Kyle Kuzma, Utah reached the second round of the Big Dance before losing to Gonzaga. The Runnin’ Utes reached the NIT the next two seasons, including an appearance in the championship game but lost to Penn State. Since that runner-up season, Utah has not played in the postseason.

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Utah Officially Hires Craig Smith As Next Head Basketball Coach