Utah State AD John Hartwell Wants Home-And-Home Series With Utah Basketball

Jul 8, 2021, 2:06 PM
John Hartwell and Craig Smith...
(Photos courtesy of Deseret News and Utah Athletics)
(Photos courtesy of Deseret News and Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah State Athletic Director John Hartwell wants to play a home-and-home series with Craig Smith and Utah in basketball.

For those that think that believe John Hartwell and Utah State would be willing to play just a one-game series at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City are wrong.

It’s been discussed since Craig Smith took over as the head coach of the Utes about whether he would be willing to play his former team in Logan.

Hartwell joined Eric Frandsen and Ajay Salvesen on the “Full Court Press” podcast where he was asked about potentially playing Craig Smith and the Runnin’ Utes.

“I have had a couple of conversations with him (Craig Smith) about it,” Hartwell said. “He and I were somewhat neighbors in North Logan. He just moved out a few weeks ago. We had a chance to get together. There is that conversation going on and we will continue to try. Just like we feel in football, it’s not just about going there and playing one game. It’s about a game in Logan and a game in Salt Lake City. So we will continue to work on that.”

Back in April, Smith joined the Crimson Corner podcast via live stream and was asked about it.

“Yes, I would be very open to that, as long as they are,” Smith told KSL Sports. “I’m a big believer in that, I’m a traditionalist. I am a history guy, you’re gonna hear that a lot, probably. Obviously, we have BYU scheduled, I don’t know if we have a date scheduled specifically yet. I believe they’re coming to our place. When we were at Utah State, we played them (BYU). When we were at Utah State, we played Weber State, like home-and-home, how many Mountain West teams are playing at Big Sky schools, I would say not many.

“We had Dixie State on the schedule, but we lost that game due to COVID. We played Utah Valley our first year,” Smith added. “That stuff is important. There is seven Division I schools in this great state. We know how passionate and how intelligent the fan base is, certainly at the University of Utah. I know it was at Utah State, I know it is at BYU, so regardless of your allegiances, I think it’s important to all of the fan bases to play those types of games. It’s easy to talk big right now and I know if we lose some of those games our fan base will be ‘well how in the world,’ and I get all that, I do. But we’re gonna still do that. I think it’s important for everybody and I think it’s a great thing for the whole state of Utah.”

The last time that the Utes played the Aggies in basketball was December 9, 2017 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in the Beehive Classic. Utah picked up a 77-67 win. Craig Smith was not the head coach at the time, that was Tim Duryea. Before that, Utah last played Utah State in Logan on November 24, 2010 when Jim Boylen was the head coach.

During the Larry Krystkowiak era, Utah only played Utah State once and it was because it was a part of the Beehive Classic where each year four in-state teams rotated for three years playing each other. The other three teams in the Classic included BYU, Utah State and Weber State.

In the early 2000s, the Runnin’ Utes played the Aggies every season during that decade. It will be interesting to see if the Utes and Aggies break the silence and play each other in the near future.

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

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Utah State AD John Hartwell Wants Home-And-Home Series With Utah Basketball