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Utah State hires UMBC’s Ryan Odom as new men’s basketball coach

FILE - Ryan Odom, who has been the head men’s basketball coach of the UMBC Retrievers since 2016, is reportedly becoming the new head coach at Utah State, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.
Bill Feig, Associated Press

The Utah State Aggies are turning to a coach who led the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history to fill the vacancy left when Craig Smith became the men’s basketball head coach at the University of Utah.

Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported Monday that the Aggies are hiring University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers coach Ryan Odom, bringing on a coach who has a career record of 126-81.

About two hours after Goodman’s report, Utah State made the hire official.

“We are beyond excited to announce Ryan Odom as Utah State’s new men’s basketball head coach,” athletic director John Hartwell said in a statement. “We had great interest from many qualified candidates and Ryan quickly distinguished himself as the clear choice. 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.”

Said Odom in a statement: “My family and I are thrilled to be joining Utah State University and the Cache Valley community. 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.”

Odom was interim head coach at Charlotte during the 2014-2015 season and tallied an 8-11 record. He then coached for one season at Division II Lenior-Rhyne, where he went 21-10. He has been at UMBC the last five seasons and has gone 97-60.

The Retrievers won a share of the America East Conference regular season title this season but did not play in the postseason.

Odom, 46, is certainly most well-known for coaching a UMBC team in 2018 that, as a 16 seed, became the first team in history to beat a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, as the Retrievers toppled the Virginia Cavaliers 74-54 before losing to the Kansas State Wildcats by seven in the next round.

Odom is the son of longtime college basketball coach Dave Odom. He becomes the 20th head coach in Utah State history.

The Aggies qualified for their third straight NCAA Tournament under Smith’s leadership in 2021 after finishing second in the Mountain West Conference.