UTAH UTES

Utah AD Releases Statement On Hire Of Craig Smith

Mar 27, 2021, 10:14 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2021, 4:16 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 athletics director Mark Harlan announced that Craig Smith will be their next head basketball coach.

Craig Smith will take over the Utah basketball program after three seasons with Utah State. Smith went to Logan after a successful run at South Dakota. He turned around the Aggies’ program with trips to the Mountain West Tournament Championship game in all three seasons, including two titles.

Mark Harlan issued the following statement:

“Craig Smith brings incredible energy and passion, and a proven record of success,” Harlan said. “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.”

Craig Smith also issued a statement:

“My family and I are thrilled to join the University of Utah and the community of Salt Lake City,” Smith said. “The Utah men’s basketball program has fantastic leadership at the top in Director of Athletics Mark Harlan and his executive team. After visiting with Mark, it became clear that our visions for Utah Basketball were aligned. 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!”

Craig Smith Taking Over For Larry Krystkowiak At Utah

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.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports. You can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Utah AD Releases Statement On Hire Of Craig Smith