HEAD COACH CRAIG SMITH
Craig Smith, a former NAIA National Coach of the Year, was named the 17th head coach in South Dakota's men's basketball history in the spring of 2014 after spending two years as an assistant coach at Nebraska. In two seasons in Vermillion, he has led the Coyotes to their first winning season in four years, won the program’s first Summit League Tournament game, and picked up his 100th career coaching victory. Highlights from the 2015-16 campaign include road wins against Minnesota and Milwaukee and a victory against Florida Gulf Coast inside The Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. In addition, the program qualified for its fourth consecutive Summit League Tournament.
South Dakota won 17 games in Smith’s first season of 2014-15. The Coyotes, picked to finish eighth in the Summit League’s preseason poll, tied for fourth behind the emergence of senior guard Tyler Larson, who became the first Coyote to earn first-team all-Summit League honors. Larson was one of three players in the nation who averaged at least 14 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
South Dakota is Smith’s second head coaching gig. He previously served as head coach at Mayville State University in North Dakota where he compiled a 72-29 record while advancing to three straight NAIA II national tournaments. The Comets, which were 1-25 in the year before Smith’s arrival, competed in the 2007 national championship game in the program’s third year under Smith.
Smith won 17 games in his first year at Mayville State, a 16-game improvement for the program. The following season, the Comets set a school record with 28 wins and won MSU’s first-ever Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC) regular season and tournament championships. MSU advanced to the national quarterfinals before losing to the eventual national champions.
Smith was named NAIA II National Coach of the Year in 2007 when the Comets defended their regular season and tournament titles before advancing to the championship game. It marked the first time any men’s basketball team from North Dakota had ever played for a national title. Smith was named DAC Coach of the Year in both 2006 and 2007.
Coach Tim Miles brought Smith on board his staff at Colorado State ahead of the 2007-08 season and Smith would be named an assistant coach the following year. It was the third program that Smith had served as an assistant for Miles. The two prior stints were at Mayville State for the 1996-97 season, where Smith first began his collegiate coaching career, and at North Dakota State from 2001-04. The fourth program was Nebraska where the duo worked the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns.
Smith is a Stephen, Minn., native and a 1996 graduate of the University of North Dakota where he earned his degree in secondary education. He earned his master's degree in teaching and learning from Northern State, where he served as a graduate assistant for the 1997-98 season. Smith and his wife, Darcy, have three sons (Landon, Brady and Carson) and a daughter (Lauren).