VERMILLION, S.D.—Craig Smith, who helped lead Nebraska to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 16 seasons, will be introduced as the next head men’s basketball coach at the University of South Dakota.
Smith will become 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-time assistant Joey James, who served as interim head coach throughout the 2013-14 campaign.
Smith has successfully rebuilt four different programs in the last 13 seasons. Ten of those 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 coach at Mayville State the other three seasons (2004-07) where he compiled a record of 72-29 while advancing to three NAIA national tournaments, including a trip to the national championship game in 2007. He was named NAIA National Coach of the Year for those accomplishments.
Smith began his collegiate coaching career at Mayville State University during the 1996-97 season. An assistant to then-head coach Miles, MSU went 18-11, won the regular season NDCAC title and the conference postseason tournament before advancing to the NAIA national tournament.
Smith worked as a graduate assistant at Northern State during the 1997-98 season. He was an assistant coach at Minot State from 1998-2001.
Smith rejoined Miles at North Dakota State where he served as an assistant coach from 2001-04. There, he helped NDSU transition to the Division I level and led the Bison to their first 20-win season in six years.
From Fargo, Smith returned to Mayville State where he orchestrated one of the largest turnarounds in program history. He turned a one-win team into a 17-win team and a tournament qualifier. One year later, the team was 27-6 and reached the Elite Eight. In 2007, Mayville State played for the national championship.
He was back with Miles for the 2007-08 season, this time at Colorado State. Smith was the director of operations for one season and an assistant coach for four. He was in charge of player development, scouting and working with the Rams’ frontcourt players. Colorado State won 20 games in 2011-12 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
Nebraska was the fourth school that Smith had worked at with Miles. This past season, the Huskers finished 19-13 overall and 11-7 in the Big Ten. Nebraska was the four seed in the Big Ten Tournament and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.