How Craig Smith Consistently Brings Energy In Everything He Does

Apr 18, 2021, 1:16 PM
Craig Smith - Utah Spring Game...
University of Utah basketball coach Craig Smith is introduced during the Red and White game in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – If you have ever met, talked to or watched Utah head coach Craig Smith, you know he is always full of energy.

That is the first thing that stands out when you have watched a Craig Smith coached team play or interact with the fans or talk to the media is his energy and he is bringing that to Utah basketball. He is always energetic despite being in a job that can be exhausting.

Being a college coach at the Division I level (or really any level) is exhausting. Smith has to recruit players, handle workouts for the guys on his roster, do media obligations and during the season, scout the opponents.

That’s why a coaching staff is important but when you are the head coach, everything falls back on you. Smith is taking on a more exhausting job right now as he makes the transition from Utah State and the Mountain West to the Runnin’ Utes and the Pac-12.

Smith joined the Crimson Corner podcast for a live stream on April 8 to discuss many different topics. He was asked how he is consistently bringing energy in everything he does.

“I think that’s just who I am and I’m passionate about what I do. I love what I do,” Smith told KSL Sports. “Growing up, and maybe not all Jazz fans will like this, but Magic Johnson was my favorite player. I just loved his enthusiasm, his smile, that stuff is contagious. I truly love what I do. I feel like I’m the luckiest person on the face of the earth to be able to do this. I know there’s a lot of things that come with it. It’s not always perfect. It’s not always easy. There’s outside pressure, but pressure is a privilege and you have to embrace that. I don’t think about those sorts of things. I want to be an energy giver. When you walk on that floor or you’re in the office every day, let’s raise the level to everybody that you’re around.”

What NBA Means In Craig Smith’s Program

When you think of NBA, everyone immediately goes to the National Basketball Association. That isn’t the case for Smith and a saying he goes by at every place he has coached.

“Life’s too short, man. This has been a tough year for a lot of people,” Smith added. “A lot of people have lost family members and had to go through some tough times, whether it’s health or financial or our mental health. We’ve all dealt with different things in life, but you’ve got one life to live and so I’ve chosen to live it and embrace everything that comes your way. I was fortunate to be raised by two amazing parents and had a great upbringing. You choose to live your life a certain way and I’m going to live it to the fullest. I’m gonna have a blast doing it. We have a saying in our program, NBA and everybody wants to talk about National Basketball Association, and especially our guys. That’s a goal that I have for every one of our guys. But in our program, NBA is Next Best Action. Whatever is thrown your way, you just got to be able to figure it out and get up. The old boxing analogy, it’s not how many punches you can throw, it’s how many that you can take and keep on ticking. That’s our mentality and life’s too short, live it to its fullest.”

The energy is contagious for Smith as his success at every school he has coached has led him to the Pac-12 level and running a program with rich tradition and history.

Smith was introduced to the 6,500 fans at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday for the red and black spring football game. At the end of the first quarter, Smith addressed the crowd and brought the same energy as he always has whether it’s in practice, a game or a media session.

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

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