Ryan Odom

Ryan Odom has been named the 20th men’s basketball head coach at Utah State.

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It took just over a week for the Aggies to find a new men’s basketball coach.

The rumors started Sunday night on social media and by late Monday morning “sources” were telling some who the new coach would be. Utah State made it official Monday afternoon on Twitter, then in a press release.

Ryan Odom was named the 20th head coach in school history by USU Athletics Director John Hartwell. He replaces Craig Smith, who left after three seasons at the Aggie helm to be the head coach at the University of Utah. Smith was named the Utes head coach on March 27.

Odom has been the head coach at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 2016, where he compiled a record of 97-60, including a 50-29 mark in the America East Conference. He guided the Retrievers to their first-ever postseason win in the 2017 CIT Tournament, then made history in 2018 as UMBC became the first-ever 16th seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, when the Retrievers beat top overall seed Virginia, 74-54.

“We are beyond excited to announce Ryan Odom as Utah State’s new men’s basketball head coach,” Hartwell said in a press release. “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.”

In his five years at UMBC, Odom coached three of the top four win-producing teams in school history and set a program record by winning 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons, including a school-record 25 victories during the 2017-18 campaign. Following that record-setting season, Odom earned the 2018 Hugh Durham Award as the nation’s top mid-major coach, and UMBC’s upset of Virginia earned a ESPY nomination for the “Best Moment” of the year.

“My family and I are thrilled to be joining Utah State University and the Cache Valley community,” Odom said in a press release. “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.”

This past season Odom led UMBC to a 14-6 record, including a 10-4 league mark. He was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 1 Co-Coach of the Year. Odom also earned America East Conference Coach of the Year honors after leading the Retrievers to a share of the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the America East Playoffs.

In seven years as a college head coach, Odom is 126-81. Odom has 24 years of collegiate coaching experience.

After taking over a program that finished 7-25 in 2015-16, Odom led UMBC to its first winning season since 2007-08 with a 21-13 record, as the Retrievers advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT). UMBC finished the year as the nation’s third-most improved team, with a +13.0 mark, behind only Minnesota and UCLA.

Odom earned the 2017 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I.

Before serving as the head coach at UMBC, Odom was the head men’s basketball coach at Lenoir-Rhyne (North Carolina) University for the 2015-16 season. The Bears (21-10) advanced to the NCAA Division II Regional Finals for the first time in school history and won 20 games in a season for the first time in eight years. Lenoir-Rhyne improved by 10.5 games from the previous season, led the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (12.4) and finished ninth in the country in scoring at 90.1 points per game.

Odom was also an assistant coach at Charlotte for five seasons (2011-15), including serving as the interim head coach for the final 19 games of the 2014-15 campaign. In 2013, he helped the 49ers earn a bid to the postseason NIT.

Prior to his tenure in Charlotte, Odom spent seven years (2004-10) on the coaching staff at Virginia Tech as an assistant and was part of a Hokies’ team that earned a berth to the NCAA Division I Tournament in 2007 and beat Illinois in the first round. He was also an assistant coach at American for three years (2001-03), at UNC Asheville for one season (1999-2000) and at Furman for two years (1997-99). He also served as an administrative assistant at South Florida (1996-97) for one season.

Odom graduated from Hampden-Sydney in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and was a four-year starting point guard on the men’s basketball team. He served as team captain his senior season and led Hampden-Sydney to an 80-30 record during his playing career, including two berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Odom finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made and fourth in assists.

Odom and his wife, Lucia, have two sons — Connor and Owen.

The new Aggie head coach is the son of former East Carolina, Wake Forest and South Carolina head coach Dave Odom. who was the SEC Coach of the Year in 2004 and the ACC Coach of the Year in 1991, 1994 and 1995.

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.

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