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Utah State Basketball Head Coaching Big Board: Who Will Replace Craig Smith?

Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Tim Miles reacts during a Big Ten Tournament game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Maryland Terrapins on March 14, 2019, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LOGAN, Utah – The University of Utah basketball program filled their head coaching vacancy but now Utah State has an opening in their program.

Craig Smith left Utah State basketball after three successful seasons and will take over the Utah Runnin’ Utes program, which was announced on Saturday.

Smith turned Utah State into a respectable program again and will not lack quality coaching candidates.

Tim Miles

Miles has ties to Craig Smith. When he was at Colorado State as the head coach, Smith was one of his assistants. He started his career as an assistant for Northern State from 1989-95. Then he got his first head coaching position at Mayville State from 1995-97. After two seasons and a 35-22 record, Miles went to Southwest Minnesota State for seasons, winning 78 games. Then he went to North Dakota State for six seasons, finishing with a record of 99-71.

Miles made the jump to the Mountain West as the head coach of Colorado State from 2007-12, reaching one NCAA Tournament and a 71-88 record. He then made the leap to power-six basketball as the head coach of Nebraska for seven seasons from 2012-19, taking the Cornhuskers to one NCAA Tournament. They went 116-114 under Miles.

Eric Peterson

Peterson has been an assistant coach for Craig Smith for seven seasons, four at South Dakota and the last three at Utah State. Promoting Peterson would make sense because he has a relationship with the current players and has done a great job developing talent. Peterson has been mentoring Neemias Queta, who has a future in the NBA.

Joe Pasternack

Pasternack has a strong track record in the coaching profession. He started as an assistant coach for California from 2001-07. He then went to New Orleans as a head coach where he went 54-60 at the helm. After his time in New Orleans, Pasternack went to Arizona as an assistant coach from 2011-13 before getting promoted to associate head coach under Sean Miller from 2013-17. In 2017, he was hired as the head coach of UC Santa Barbara, where he currently is coaching.

Pasternack has led UC Santa Barbara to at least 20 wins in all four seasons as the head coach, including an NCAA Tournament appearance this season.

Chris Burgess

After a successful career as a player in college at Duke and Utah, Burgess had a long playing career professionally overseas. Then he started coaching when he was an assistant for Mark Pope at Utah Valley. He made the move with Pope to Provo and is in his second season at BYU. Burgess has ties to the west coast and is used to the recruiting rituals of college basketball. He has seen success everywhere he has gone both as a coach and player.

Burgess is a real possibility and would have lots of success if given the opportunity.