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Craig Smith pens thank you letter to Utah State Aggies fans

In his three seasons at Utah State, Smith turned the program around

FILE: Utah State head coach Craig Smith reacts to a basket during a college basketball game against Colorado State in the semifinal round of the Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas on Friday, March 12, 2021. Smith recently was named head basketball coach at the University of Utah, and he penned a thank you letter to Aggies fans for his time in Logan.
Isaac Brekken, Associated Press

Shortly after accepting an offer to become the new Utah men’s basketball head coach, Craig Smith sent a thank you letter to Utah State fans.

In his three seasons at Utah State, Smith turned the program around. After legendary head coach Stew Morrill retired in 2015, head coach Tim Duryea coached the Aggies for three seasons, all finishing around the .500 mark.

In his first season, Smith led the Aggies to a 28-7 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance, winning both the regular season Mountain West Conference championship and the conference tournament but losing in the first round of the NCAAs to No. 9 Washington. In 2019-20, the Aggies went 26-8 and won the conference tournament, but the NCAA Tournament was canceled.

This season, Smith and the Aggies finished 20-9, making the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid, but falling to No. 6 Texas Tech in the first round.

Read Smith’s letter below:

“Aggie Nation:

“For the past few days, I’ve struggled to find the words to express what the past three years have meant to me. It’s been incredibly humbling to reflect on the many memories and life-changing moments my family has experienced since moving to Logan. I’ll always remember watching our oldest son Landon graduate high school and moving him into his residence hall at Utah State. I’ll always remember watching our eleventh-grade son Brady and ninth-grade son Carson get into a varsity basketball game together for the first time at Green Canyon High School. I’ll always remember our daughter Lauren cutting down the nets with me after winning our first Mountain West Conference Championship. My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary together last year.

“From the second we arrived in Cache Valley, my family and I felt like we were home. We’ve met so many amazing people and have developed friendships that will last a lifetime.

“I’d like to thank John Hartwell — a man I am proud to call a friend — for hiring me to become the 19th men’s basketball coach in the history of Utah State. He believed in me when not many did, and I will forever be grateful for the relationship we’ve had and will continue to have for years to come. I’d also like to thank his administration and the entire support staff at USU for their support over these past three years.

“I’d like to thank the student-athletes we’ve been so fortunate to work with over the years at Utah State. We were privileged to coach some of the greatest young men I’ve been around in my 48 years of life. These young men have displayed character, integrity, toughness, selflessness, and pride. It has been one of the great honors of my life to share this time with you.

“Thank you to the incredible Aggie fan base — and a special shout out to the USU Hurd. You brought energy and enthusiasm every single night. Your impact on our success is one that you will never truly understand. Your energy lifted us to higher levels of competitive greatness. And we will never, ever forget the Spectrum Magic we were lucky enough to experience together.

“Words can never fully describe my gratitude and the positive feelings I have for Cache Valley and Utah State University. This has been three of the very best years of my life.

“On behalf of all of us in the Smith family, thank you for welcoming us to your wonderful home.”