Bovine Blog: Who Will Utah State Target To Replace Danny Sprinkle?

Mar 25, 2024, 12:30 PM | Updated: Mar 26, 2024, 10:17 am

Stew Morrill Court Utah State Aggies women's basketball Wesley Brooks...

Stew Morrill Court at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum

LOGAN, Utah— Danny Sprinkle’s run at Utah State ended abruptly after one unforgettable season. The Aggies are back in the coaching market, looking to strike gold in back-to-back years.

After leading USU to a 28-7 record and an NCAA Tournament win for the first time since 2001, Sprinkle was hired by the Washington Huskies to transition that program into the Big Ten.

RELATED: Danny Sprinkle Sends Thanks, Apologizes To Utah State Family After Memorable First Season

With Sprinkle on his way out and no official coaching candidates announced by the school, it’s fair to speculate on what traits Vice President & Director of Athletics Diana Sabau will target as she spearheads the search for a new leader.

The program’s past three head coaches, Sprinkle, Ryan Odom, and Craig Smith, were all in their mid-40s when hired by the school. All three also had previous head coaching experience and were able to experience immediate success at USU.

RELATED: Danny Sprinkle Named Semifinalist For Naismith Coach Of Year

When Sprinkle was hired, he brought several members of his Montana State coaching staff and two players, Darius Brown II and Great Osobor, to help ease the transition for everybody involved. With the transfer portal creating unprecedented fluidity in college sports, Sabau will likely look for a coach who won’t have to start building from the ground up.

We examine five potential head coaching candidates for the Aggies.

Jeff Boals – Ohio Bobcats

The 51-year-old Boals has led the Ohio Bobcats for the past five seasons, winning 39 games combined in the last two seasons. Before Ohio, Boals coached Stony Brook 2016-19, twice finishing second in the America East Conference.

Before Stony Brook, Boals spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State, where Sabau spent four years as the Senior Deputy Athletics Director.

He is 153-102 (.600) overall as a head coach and is 1-1 in the NCAA Tournament.

Will Wade – McNeese State Cowboys

Wade, 41, first became a head coach at 30 when he took over the Chattanooga Mocs program in 2013, winning the Southern Conference Coach of the Year award in 2014. Wade went on to win an Atlantic 10 championship with VCU in 2016 before getting hired as the head coach of the LSU Tigers in March 2017. He led the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament in 2021 but was fired in 2022 after the NCAA formally served a Notice of Allegations for recruiting violations while at LSU.

Wade was hired by McNeese State in 2023 and has a two-year NCAA show-cause penalty for recruiting and bribery allegations at LSU. His teams have won 20 or more games seven times and he is 224-100 (.691) overall. Wade is 2-5 in the NCAA Tournament.

Todd Simon – Bowling Green Falcons

Could former Southern Utah head coach Todd Simon be tempted to return to the Beehive State? After seven seasons leading the Thunderbirds, Simon was hired by Bowling Green in March 2023.

In his first season with the Falcons, Simon turned a 20-loss team in 2022-23 into a 20-win team in 2023-24. The 43-year-old Simon is 147-128 as a head coach. He was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year and Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year after leading SUU to a 20-4 record.

Cody Feuger – BYU Cougars

If the Aggies choose to go the in-state route rather than a current head coach, a current BYU assistant coach with a decade of assistant coaching experience could get a call.

Feuger was the Director of Basketball operations at Utah State in 2012-13 under Stew Morrill and has worked his way up the food chain since. He held the same position at BYU before accepting an assistant coaching position at Utah Valley in 2015. Feuger joined the Cougars staff in 2019.

Chris Burgess – Utah Utes

Another in-state assistant coaching option is former Utah Ute player and longtime assistant coach Chris Burgess.

The 44-year-old Burgess assisted Mark Pope at UVU and BYU for seven seasons before joining former Aggie head coach Craig Smith’s staff at his alma mater in 2022. After being a McDonald’s All-American out of high school, Burgess began his college playing career at Duke under the tutelage of legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

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Brian Preece is a KSLsports.com insider covering the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics coverage here.

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Bovine Blog: Who Will Utah State Target To Replace Danny Sprinkle?