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Utah State names UMBC's Ryan Odom as new men's basketball coach

Gerry Broome [Mar-19-2018]

(Gerry Broome, Associated Press)

LOGAN — Ryan Odom coached the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history. Utah State athletic director John Hartwell is hoping he can deliver similar magic with the Aggies.

The former University of Maryland-Baltimore County head coach has been named USU's next men's basketball coach, the university announced Monday.

"We are beyond excited to announce Ryan Odom as Utah State's new men's basketball head coach," said Hartwell. "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."

During his five years UMBC, Odom compiled a 97-60 record. The Retrievers won 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons, including a school-record 25 victories during the 2017-18 campaign. The final victory of that season is one of the most famous wins in college basketball history.

In the 2018 NCAA Tournament, the Retrievers became the first and only No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament when they topped Virginia, 74-54.

UMBC finished 14-6 this past season, winning a share of the America East Conference regular-season title, but did not play in the postseason. Odom was named the America East Conference Coach of the Year following the season.

"My family and I are thrilled to be joining Utah State University and the Cache Valley community," Odom said in a statement. "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 will take over for Craig Smith, who revitalized the Aggies' hoops program during his three-year stint in Logan. The Aggies earned a tournament bid in each season under Smith and won two Mountain West Conference tournament titles. Smith left USU to take over the University of Utah program last month.

At Utah State, Odom finds a much different foundation than the one he inherited when he first arrived in Baltimore. Odom took over a spiraling UMBC program: The Retrievers were just 7-25 in 2015-16, the season before Odom arrived, and they hadn't had a winning season since 2007-08. Two years later, they were the talk of the country.

Odom immediately turned things around, going 21-13 in his first season. Then, in his second year, he led UMBC to the NCAA tournament where they had the most improbable win in NCAA history.

The 46-year-old Odom has a head coaching record of 126-81 — a record that also includes stops as the interim coach at Charlotte and Division II Lenior-Rhyne. Odom has also spent time as an assistant at Virigina Tech, American and UNC Asheville.

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