VERMILLION,S.D.--Craig Smith, who helped lead Nebraska to its first NCAA Tournamentappearance in 16 seasons, will be introduced as the next head men's basketballcoach at the University of South Dakota.
Smith willbecome the 17th head coach in the 106-year history of Coyote men's basketball.He follows Dave Boots, who spent 25 seasons in Vermillion, and Boots' long-timeassistant Joey James, who served as interim head coach throughout the 2013-14campaign.
"I couldn't bemore proud to be the next basketball coach at the University of South Dakota,"said Smith. "USD is a great school. The vision of President (James) Abbott andof David Herbster aligns with my vision, and the new facility is a symbol and asign that the best is yet to come."
South DakotaAthletic Director David Herbster commented, "When I laid out the vision for theprogram and the qualities and characteristics we were seeking, it was a prettylong list. Craig Smith stood out amongst a very strong field of candidates andhit everything we were looking for to take our program to the next level."
Smith hassuccessfully rebuilt four different programs in the last 13 seasons. Ten ofthose seasons were spent as an assistant coach for Tim Miles at North Dakota State(2001-04), Colorado State (2008-12) and Nebraska (2012-14). He served as head coachat Mayville State the other three seasons (2004-07)where he compiled a record of 72-29 while advancing to three NAIA nationaltournaments, including a trip to the national championship game in 2007. He wasnamed NAIA National Coach of the Year for those accomplishments.
"When I was atNorth Dakota State, I always remembered driving intoVermillion and walking into the DakotaDome," said Smith. "I watched guys likeJosh Mueller, Turner Trofholz and Tommie King and I recall the crowd, thesupport and the atmosphere inside the Dome. Coyote fans were so into the games.I have always been impressed by that."
Smith grew upthe oldest of five brothers in Stephen, a small town in northern Minnesota. He enrolledat the University of North Dakota and graduated in 1996 with a bachelor'sdegree in secondary education and social science. He earned his master's degreefrom Northern State in teaching and learning threeyears later.
Smith beganhis collegiate coaching career at Mayville State Universityduring the 1996-97 season. An assistant to then-head coach Miles, MSU went18-11, won the regular season NDCAC title and the conference postseasontournament before advancing to the NAIA national tournament.
Smith workedas a graduate assistant at Northern State during the 1997-98season. He was an assistant coach at Minot State from 1998-2001.
Smith rejoinedMiles at North Dakota State where he served asan assistant coach from 2001-04. There, he helped NDSU transition to theDivision I level and led the Bison to their first 20-win season in six years.
From Fargo, Smith returned to Mayville Statewhere he orchestrated one of the largest turnarounds in program history. Heturned a one-win team into a 17-win team and a tournament qualifier. One yearlater, the team was 27-6 and reached the Elite Eight. In 2007, Mayville State played for the nationalchampionship.
He was backwith Miles for the 2007-08 season, this time at Colorado State.Smith was the director of operations for one season and an assistant coach forfour. He was in charge of player development, scouting and working with theRams' frontcourt players. Colorado State won 20 games in2011-12 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
Nebraska was the fourthschool that Smith had worked at with Miles. This past season, the Huskersfinished 19-13 overall and 11-7 in the Big Ten. Nebraska was the four seed in the Big TenTournament and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
What theyare saying about Craig Smith
Tim Miles –Head Coach at Nebraska"USD has made a terrific hire in Craig Smith. Craig is a man of great integrityand has one of the best basketball minds I have ever been around. I believe inhim unconditionally. He will build a strong and lasting program, one that fansand student-athletes will embrace and one that will continue the fine traditionthat has been established."
Colton Iverson – Student-Athlete at Colorado Staterecruited and coached by Craig Smith and drafted by the Boston Celtics - "Coach Smith isan incredible coach. I have never been coached by anyone in my whole life whowas as determined to get the most and best out of me as an individual and theteam as a whole. I have never been with a coach like him that works non-stop tomake the most of every day. I knew when he recruited me that he was a winnerand that I would benefit from Coach Smith. His determination is contagious andyou can see how success follows him everywhere he goes. He is a motivator thatwill do what it takes to get the best out of each and every player the rightway.
Tom Osborne– Retired Athletic Director at Nebraska– "Craig has been the right hand man to Tim Miles through several stops.They have rebuilt programs. I have a great deal of respect for Craig as acoach, recruiter, and person. I wish him and the University of South Dakotawell."
Courtesy USD Sports Information