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Utah hires Craig Smith from Utah State

Mar 19, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Utah State Aggies head coach Craig Smith reacts during the 65-53 loss in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Utah State Aggies head coach Craig Smith reacts during the 65-53 loss in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Utah didn’t have to go far to find its new coach, luring Craig Smith away from Utah State, according to multiple reports.

Smith would replace Larry Krystkowiak, who was fired earlier this month after compiling a 183-139 record in 10 seasons.

Krystkowiak, 56, was relieved of his duties five days after his team ended its season with a 91-85 double-overtime loss to Southern California in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament to finish the year 12-13. It’s the Utes’ first losing season since 2013, when Utah was 15-18 overall and 5-13 in Pac-12 play in Krystkowiak’s second year.

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Smith, 48, led Utah State to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2019 and 2021, but the team qualified for the canceled 2020 tourney. He had a 74-23 record in three seasons at Utah State and went 79-55 in four seasons at South Dakota before that.

Utah State lost 65-53 to No. 6 seed Texas Tech in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

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The Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2019, Smith will face stiffer competition in his first stint with a Power Five school. The Utes have not qualified for the NCAA Tournament since 2016.

–Field Level Media