Utah State hires UMBC coach to lead men's basketball program

Posted at 3:52 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 18:40:39-04

LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University has hired a new men's basketball coach.

On Monday, the school's athletic department announced the hiring of Ryan Odom from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

He replaces Craig Smith, who was recently hired by the University of Utah after three seasons with the Aggies.

Odom led the UMBC Retrievers to national fame in 2018 when they made March Madness history, becoming the first-ever 16th seed to advance past the first round of the NCAA tournament. They upset Virginia, the top overall seed, 74-54.

While the Aggies have had had successful seasons and conference tournaments off and on for many years — including back-to-back Mountain West tournament wins in 2019 and 2020, as well as invitations to the past three NCAA tournaments — they have not advanced past the first round since 2001.

"Ryan has a proven track record of accomplishments with his student-athletes, both in the classroom and on the court, and we are confident he will continue to elevate the success of our Aggie basketball program," USU athletic director John Hartwell said.

UMBC (America East Conference) won 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons during Odom's 5-year tenure, according to a press release issued by USU Monday. The Retrievers won 25 games in 2017-18, breaking the school record.

"My family and I are thrilled to be joining Utah State University and the Cache Valley community," Odom said. "With President (Noelle) Cockett and Vice President John Hartwell, there is an outstanding foundation and great leadership, and I can't tell you how excited we are to experience 'The HURD,' and build upon the storied history and recent success of Aggie basketball."